Skepta at Alexandra Palace, London, UK – 2nd December 2016

Posted by Bianca on Friday Dec 2, 2016 Under Grime, Rap

Gig Review and Photography by Jeremy Carron

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Skepta has had a rollercoaster of a year so far! From releasing his latest album Konnichiwa, which became Grime’s highest charting album, to winning this year’s Mercury Prize, to even having Beyoncé dancing to his beat at Wembley, amongst it all. A Grime artist who has helped propel the genre back into the spotlight lately, tonight finds Skepta at a sold-out Alexandra Palace, to perform his biggest show to date!

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The night began with Skepta coming on to a stage flooded with red lighting, before an eagerly awaiting crowd. Beginning his set with ‘No Security’, a track released earlier in the year, Skepta kicked off the show to a great start. With a promise of “special guests” joining Skepta throughout the show, it wasn’t long until the crowd were expecting members of Boy Better Know collective to join him on stage and sure enough, after the first song had ended, the fans were already chanting BBK.

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The familiar intro to title track ‘Konnichiwa’ then kicked in, leading in to the second song, however it wasn’t until the following song, ‘That’s Not Me’, when the first guest appeared on stage – Skepta’s brother, JME. With the fans already chanting along to the chorus, JME’s first of many appearances, was met with cheers.

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‘Ace Hood Flow’ followed, then another guest appearance with Wretch 32 coming on stage for his track, ‘Liberation’. ‘Corn on the Curb’ brought another guest appearance, this time with Grime Godfather, Wiley.

The night saw a constant revolving door of guest appearances, which helped keep the set fresh, as well as keeping the crowd’s energy levels high. There was never a moment throughout the set, when the energy seemed to subside.

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The next track performed was ‘Numbers’, a track originally recorded with Pharrell Williams. It was one of the few songs in the set list to sadly not feature a guest appearance, though the lack of Pharrell on stage was more than made up for with Skepta’s stage presence.

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Skepta briefly paused the set to announce that this was the moment he had been waiting for in the set and how he had brought all the energy he had been collecting over the years , on to stage with him now, before leading in to next track, ‘It Ain’t Safe’. Joined on stage, this time by Young Lord, the fans were chanting along to the verses once more.

A Giggs cover of ‘Whippin Excursion’ followed, featuring Giggs himself on stage. This was followed by JME cover, ‘Man Don’t Care’ with JME back on stage once more, alongside Skepta and Giggs. ‘3 Wheel-ups’ was up next, a Kano cover featuring the Grime veteran himself, joining Skepta on stage. Kano’s appearance on stage was definitely well received by the crowd.

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The next track in the set was diss track ‘Nasty’, which was followed by ‘Lyrics’, after Novelist appeared on stage. Skepta dedicated his next song to the ladies for ‘Ladies Hit Squad’, with D Double E joining him on stage this time. Another cover was up next, when Shorty came on stage for his track, ‘What’s Going On’. A performance of ‘Detox’ followed with even more guest appearances.

The crowd went crazy for the next track and old grime classic, ‘Pow!’ A Lethal Bizzle cover, Skepta was joined on stage by both Lethal Bizzle and JME. The final cover of the night followed, with Section Boyz track ‘#Worst’, featuring Section Boyz themselves on stage.

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Skepta took another pause in the set, to thank all of his fans for coming. Reminiscing on the times he would go ice skating in Alexandra Palace and feeding the ducks in his youth, it wasn’t long until Skepta was back in the flow of things, after introducing the next track saying, “Man’s never ever been Ally Pally when it’s Shutdown!” ‘Shutdown’ was well received by the fans and even had them joining in with the verses yet again. Skepta then introduced the next song by saying how he had saved the best for last, with family and friends being the most important thing to him, before bringing out on stage all the BBK members who had appeared throughout the show, amongst others, for his performance of ‘Man (Gang)’. A crowded stage, featuring a burning car in the middle, it was definitely an incredible sight, which even felt reminiscent of Kanye West’s appearance at the 2015 Brit Awards for his track, ‘All Day’. Skepta stood triumphant on top of the car bonnet, with his hands in the air, as the track and set came to an end.

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A tight set list, which was filled with high energy, definitely delivered on the promise of special guest appearances and even gave a history lesson in Grime, is why the night Skepta shutdown Alexandra Palace will be remembered and talked about for a long time to come!

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Setlist:

No Security (Halloween Sound) / Konnichiwa / That’s Not Me / Ace Hood Flow / Liberation (Wretch 32 Cover) / Corn on the Curb / Crime Riddim / Numbers / It Ain’t Safe / Whippin Excursion (Giggs Cover) / Man Don’t Care (JME Cover) / 3 Wheel-ups (Kano Cover) / Nasty / Lyrics / Ladies Hit Squad / What’s Going On (Shorty Cover) / Detox / Pow! (Lethal Bizzle Cover) / #Worst (Section Boyz Cover) / Shutdown / Man (Gang)

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