A2 at Koko for NME Awards Shows 2018
“We make history, tonight,” A2 stated several times during his insanely vibrant gig at Koko. Rarely to be seen or heard via social media or for interviews – in contrast with the current trend of self-promotion – the rapper brought an exceptional dose of energy to the Camden music venue, where he was visible and perky for the whole set.
Opening downtempo with Marble Flaws, A2 greeted the crowd, asking for more and more engagement as the show went on. Not that the request was actually needed as the supporters didn’t miss a single chance to sing along and move to the energetic beats of the music.
The first part of the set presented mostly tracks from the new album, Blue. Winter Winner and The Feel left a mark for their vibrancy, with the latter featuring a crescendo in the tone. A2’s rhymes predominantly recall conversations and memories with and of female counterparts – a girlfriend, but also his sister and his mother – whose influence, as he acknowledged at the end, has been essential to his career. For this reason, Southern Comfort was one of the few segments that stood out for the lyrics are more based on social matters and estate life. With FXP and Love Songs, the Croydon-based rapper tested the crowd, playing and retaking the music until the audience didn’t prove to be completely engaged and part of the singing chorus.
From time to time, a recorded female voice emerged in the background music. In Pluto, an emotional saxophone tuned in as well. Running through tracks of his career since 2015, the artist performed one of his first hits, Holograms, where the strong electronic beats and the mellow rhythm were predominant. The vocals perfectly entwined with the music, in a good balance of lyrics and sound. Those were the years when the rapper first tried to distance himself from the grime vibes he was immersed in.
The second half of the concert soared in intensity and energy. The real roar of the audience arrived with Harley Quinne, when the music stopped a couple of times and the jumping crowd led the performance. The closing X2 and Flex Luthor proved to be the most elaborate of the artist’s craft, blending and alternating R&B and hip hop for a unique, introspective rap. And with the stage take-over by the backstage guests – as invited on by A2 – the whole venue resembled a big, lively and familiar house party, with no one excluded.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information and future events visit A2’s website here.
Watch the video for X2 here: