LIVE REVIEW: Slowthai @ O2 City Hall, Newcastle (21.03.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Tonight, as an ‘elder millennial’ surrounded by a rambunctious gaggle of tweens, teens and cooler-than-thou twenty-somethings all aggressively jockeying for prime vantage positions in the increasingly ram-packed standing area of Newcastle’s O2 City Hall, it strikes me that, I might just be a tad too old to be in the dead centre of a potential mosh pit. Like clockwork, at least a dozen beer-filled plastic pints sail through the air as the man born Tyron Frampton takes the stage – he’s dressed like Jay Kay’s long-lost lovechild, which is quite apt, as the minimalist set design appears to pay unspoken homage to Jamiroquai’s Virtual Insanity video – and opens with the deliciously aggro Enemy, pretty much confirming that shit’s definitely getting turnt AF tonight.

“Who’s ready to fuck shit up?!!?”, Frampton goads before launching into Cancelled, the air thick with the febrile zest of boozy bairns awaiting marching orders from their rowdy Pied Piper – their fervour stays at fever pitch, even when Frampton halts the show multiple times so fainting fans can be seen to. As the set meanders from hard-edged grime to anthemic pop-rap and punk-flecked ragers, Frampton’s versatility and stagecraft are irrefutable – the high-calibre sonic arsenal he’s accumulated over a relatively short career is unquestionably mind-blowing. Mid-gig, Frampton’s life-affirming reflections make for an endearing lull, as he proudly shares the twin joys of buying his first home and recently becoming a father – though gratifying, this respite doesn’t last long before the frenzy-inducing twofer of Drug Dealer and Inglorious crank the energy back up to eleven. Following a swooningly atmospheric, D’n’B-indebted new song – which hints at a creative shift into Faithless-ish territory – the crowd-pleasing Doorman closes out the evening with anarchic aplomb. For all my initial fretting, Frampton’s simultaneous human and artistic growth are a true joy to behold in person – here’s to album number three and its attendant evolution.

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