• Alex Dalton

Dave at The LCR 25/04/2019 - Review

UK hip-hop is thriving at the moment, and Dave is at the forefront. The 20 (yes, TWENTY) year old rapper has dominated over the last six months, scoring a number 1 single with the addictive Funky Friday and a number 1 album with his debut Psychodrama.

A rapper who transcends his age with knowledge, ability and raw talent, it was a surprise and a blessing to see him billed at the LCR, and he did not disappoint.

Respect to Jaykae the support, who is an insanely fun MC from Birmingham, but I can’t diddle daddle on that - Dave blew absolutely every expectation I had out of the water.

The stage was deceptively simple, with just a huge skull slap in the middle on the black background, but as soon as the opening track from the album Psycho started, the visuals came to life. Each song had a unique set of graphics that matched and enhanced the track, with different styles and personalities. A huge attention to detail has clearly gone into the tour, and it paid off as visual butter.

Dave comes out to a huge cheer, and reels off a couple of big songs from the album. Immediately, I’m grinning like nobody’s business - he’s not rapping over his songs! He’s using instrumental versions! I can’t describe the elation I had at this moment - hip-hop shows are notorious for using backing tracks, which I think completely destroys the sound of the show and doesn’t demonstrate skill on the mic. Dave quite literally was breaking convention, and spitting flawlessly over the incredible beats. After a couple of other tracks, including his great feature on Headie One’s 18HUNNA, he revealed that he was suffering from laryngitis but was determined to keep going - my respect for him completely skyrocketed.

Pacing through more of the album, he took some time to perform some introspective songs which I think is so important for someone like him. At the moment, hype hip-hop shows are the norm, so it’s important for someone who focusses so heavily on storytelling and lyricism to take a step back. Black, the lead single off Psychodrama, was delivered immaculately, emotional as ever, and his loosie Hangman was also a perfect rendition.

The final section of the show was a huge party. Starting with one of his earliest songs Thiago Silva, he invited someone from the crowd up on stage to rap with him and go the whole room bouncing. The two most gig-friendly tracks on the album Disaster and Location followed suit, and the show was closed by the fantastic No Words, and his aforementioned number 1 single Funky Friday. The crowd begged for more, chanting his name and making him show the most honest and grateful emotion. Through a breaking and humbling voice, he thanked us all dearly, and departed.

I cannot overstate how breathtaking the show was. Just the simple fact that the man did not miss a single bar the entire show, with no help from a backing track and battling with his voice - what a pure talent. It sounds like a low bar to vault, but if you’ve ever been to a hip-hop gig you’re likely to know why this is so shocking and so great to see. It is cliche, but the only criticism I can think of at all is that I just wish it were longer, but I suppose that is his role fulfilled. He made every single person in the packed LCR desperate to hear more, and thankfully his career is only just beginning.

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