Live Review: Stormzy

Live Review: Stormzy

Adding to his status as the biggest name in UK Rap, Stormzy curates ‘This is What We Mean Day’ at All Points East Festival – joined by the likes of Kehlani, Lucky Daye, Sampha and Knucks on the lineup. By Adam Davidson

Img @ Khali Ackford

The anticipation had been building perfectly throughout the day and when the lights dimmed and Stormzy was introduced the excitement in the crowd was palpable.

Typically Stormzy opens with something high-octane which gets the energy pumping in the crowd. However, this time he opened with the ballad ‘Fire + Water’ from his latest album ‘This is What We Mean.’

This is a different version of Stormzy, one that has veered off from Grime to more soulful music with an accompanying choir.

This concept would work perfectly in a more intimate setting like the Royal Albert Hall because the acoustics of a smaller venue would maximise the power of the choir; however, this beauty was slightly lost in an outside concert. It takes a lot to keep a crowd hooked and engaged at a festival and the back-to-back songs from the new album didn’t create a buzz and many people were chatting and distracted.

There were a couple of highlights from this opening section, both coming from Debbie – a singer who Stormzy has taken under his wing. The rising star joined Stormzy on stage to perform ‘Firebabe’ and ‘Give It to the Water.’ She has a magical voice and surely has an exciting future ahead of her as experiences like this will be invaluable for her growth.

The choir left the stage and the stage plunged into darkness. Suddenly the beat of ‘Big For Your Boots’ kicked in and the crowd went crazy. Fireworks went off along with pyrotechnics and smoke cannons and energy was infused back into the crowd, it felt like the opening section was warming up for this moment.

Stormzy kept up the high-octane energy with ‘Know Me From’, ‘Cold’ and ‘Wiley Flow.’ These are songs that naturally have an upbeat energy, amplified live as Stormzy was jumping around and vibing with the crowd. He feels so comfortable on the stage that whether he is performing in front of 1,000 people or 40,000, he will give his all regardless.

The day started with nice midsummer weather and many people dressed for the occasion with shorts and t-shirts. By the end of the night, raincoats and snorkels would have been more appropriate as biblical rain poured down. Nevertheless, this didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits but instead enhanced the experience as it created a beautiful communal moment with people bouncing along in the rain.

Stormzy once again proves why he is the biggest name in UK Rap as no one else in the genre could pull off something this ambitious on such a big scale.

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