Sunday 24 September 2017

Review: Stormzy at The Olympia - By the end of the night, the delirious capacity crowd are chanting his name

Stormzy
Stormzy
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Not every artist who comes to town gets a gigantic mural in Smithfield painted in their honour, but grime superstar Stormzy is no ordinary artist.

Michael Omari hails from the south London suburban hinterland between Croydon and the British capital, which has proven to be a remarkably fertile area for electronic music in recent years, spawning several modern genres and Electric Picnic headliners The xx.

Under his stage name of Stormzy, Omari has brought grime, which is essentially a Black British take on hip-hop, to the top of the charts.

Tickets for his Dublin debut and first ever full live show were snapped up within minutes. The set up corresponds to the typical hip-hop format of a DJ and a MC. This sometimes ends up being a bit dull and drear, but Stormzy brews up a storm.

Omari is very tall and possesses huge stage presence. Songs from his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer sometimes dabble in stereotypical hip-hop style braggadocio, but Stormy adds a pleasing twist of self-depreciating British humour to make his boasting much more palatable than any run of the mill show off.

I can’t think of another contemporary artist who packs the themes of depression, economic meltdown, knife crime and religious faith all into the opening track of their debut album. Omari whips the crowd into a frenzy. By the end of the night, the delirious capacity crowd are chanting his name.

It will be interesting to see how his live show translates into a headline slot at this summer’s Longitude festival. On this evidence, it should be a walk in the park.

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