Following a meteoric rise over the last two years Slowthai has quickly established himself as one of the hottest prospects in the UK grime scene. His live shows have rapidly gained a not-to-be-missed reputation for his relentless energy and aggressive delivery. The Exchange – off the back of the news that it is likely to become Bristol’s first community owned live music venue – was to host Slowthai’s first Bristol solo gig, and the intimate stage proved the perfect setting.
In the build up to his appearance the sense of anticipation among the crowd was palpable. A handful of fans had heeded the call of his Instagram story offering a spot on the guest list as a reward for bringing along a giant inflatable (the reason for which would become apparent as the gig progressed).
Each track was delivered with a punkish attitude, which reached its peak as he took aim at the queen in a custom rendition of the British national anthem
The atmosphere reached fever pitch from the moment Slowthai entered the stage. He began with two tracks from his new EP RUNT, which was already familiar with the crowd despite being released just a few days earlier. This was followed by some of his breakthrough singles including Jiggle, Murder and Polaroid. Each track was delivered with a punkish attitude, which reached its peak as he took aim at the queen in a custom rendition of the British national anthem. This encapsulated the rawness and honesty that has quickly become his unique style. The energetic back up performance of his DJ, sporting a full balaclava for much of the set, complemented Slowthai’s performance perfectly.
The punk influence also seemed to affect the crowd as they engaged in some moshing during IDGAF – the acronym is self explanatory. As the evening progressed, the inflatables started to emerge and the intention was clear; it was time for some crowdsurfing. Clearly this is something he has become accustomed to on tour as he leaped into the crowd and continued to rap whilst being carried across the ceiling. This led to an iconic performance that will live long in the memory, culminating with North Nights and T N Biscuits, which sent the already raucous audience into overdrive.
he leaped into the crowd and continued to rap whilst being carried across the ceiling
Judging by the reception that Slowthai received throughout, and considering he has recently been endorsed by Nike in their new SK-Air campaign together with Skepta, I am confident in predicting that he will continue riding the inflatable wave to grime greatness.
Words and live photo by Tom Bull