Laurie Waite reviews Little Simz’s 5th leg of her UK album tour at Deaf Institute in Manchester
Little Simz smashes out big performance for the Manchester leg of her tour, with support from her fellow age:101 artists Chuck20 & Tiffany Gouché
Little Simz, Saturday 13th February, ‘A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons’ Tour 2016, at Deaf Institute, Manchester
On the fifth leg of her first ever UK headline tour, London-born rapper Little Simz donned Manchester’s Deaf Institute stage to perform a selection of tracks from her new album ‘A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons’ as well as classics from her previous mixtape releases.
North London has been the export of many high profile musicians in the scene – including the likes of Skepta and Dizzee Rascal – and it seems as though Little Simz is destined to follow in their footsteps to the dizzying heights of stardom.
Little Simz’ hugely popular track ‘Dead Body’ from the album ‘A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons’:
Before the acts had even begun, the steadily increasing crowd was kept entertained by a mood-setting lights display and slow-beat hip hop melodies courtesy of Simz’ very own producer DJ OTG, which served as a mere amuse bouche for the spectacle that was about to take place.
The first artist to take to the stage was Simz’ age:101 music companion Chuck20, who captured the attention of the audience immediately with his immaculate delivery and exciting lyrics. His stage presence was mesmerising; with minimal movement aside from his hand keeping himself in time to the beat and a swaying in the knees – a posture adopted by most great artists of the genre – it was clear to see that we were witnessing an artist who has the potential to become a titan of UK hip hop.
In adherence to their typically unorthodox ways, age:101 were to provide yet another support act in the form of LA sensation Tiffany Gouché. Exhibiting the smooth rhythms and elegantly sexualised lyrics from her latest EP ‘Pillowtalk’, she provided a noticeably contrasting side to the lyricism of hip hop/RNB from a female’s perspective.
Following on from the two support acts, the wait was over as the evening’s headline act came on to a rapturous response. As Simz rallied through track after track it isn’t hard to notice her energy and appreciation of her music onstage, which is a real joy to see from a performer. The fierce instrumentals accompanied by her confident vocals on the mic make her a force to be reckoned with.
The first track of her new album entitled ‘Persons’ was early on the setlist. Reflecting on how women are often told they can never achieve great things in life in reflection to the position she is in in life now, this track has true meaning intrinsically attached to it as she boasts onstage ‘everybody should know that I’m the king now’. It’s refreshing to listen to music that has true emotion behind it – particularly in this category of music – as opposed to simple over-exaggerations.
Each song came with an introductory explanation of the purpose, which was particularly poignant with songs such as ‘God Bless Mary’, ‘Tainted’ and ‘Interlude’. These select few come with a deeper meaning to them, as ‘God Bless Mary’ pays homage to Simz’ next door neighbour who has to listen to her loud music at all hours of the day, and deep unlerlying socio-political themes in ‘Tainted’ as she explains about the person she never wants to become if she were to reach fame.
The highlight of the night came surprisingly mid-way through the set, as the first few eerie notes of her hit track ‘Dead Body’ began playing. The immediate recognition in the room triggered flailing arms amongst the crowd, even more so when Simz wandered down from the stage to join her supporters in the middle of the dancefloor to fully appreciate the monster drop in this tune. I say with no exaggeration that the floor in the Deaf Institute was literally bouncing.
Keeping in tune with their habits of redefining the constructs of the gig formalities, Simz oddly took two encore breaks from the stage, only to be chanted back out by those in attendance. It almost seemed as though each time she came back on, the energy of the support increased even more, until the point she verbally requested the audience to show ‘110% energy’ for her final few songs.
One can definitely chalk this event up as one of the most entertaining and captivating gigs to have attended. It seems impossible to merge the rebellious nature of UK hip hop and the level of sophistication and unique identity that Little Simz and her entourage portrayed, but they have done so seamlessly. Welcome to hip hop of 2016.
Written by Laurie Waite