Azealia Banks @ O2 ABC, 29 September
This virulent hip-hop double-bill opens with New York rapper Zebra Katz, accompanied on stage by whip-fierce Njena Reddd Foxxx, churning the 8pm crowd into furore with ease. Shooting through stripped down bass-centric tracks, the muscle of the set comes from Katz’s energetic presence and the interplay with Fantasea Tour co-star Foxxx (who even dazzles with some unexpected gymnastics). The set’s centrepiece Ima Read, a release through nascent Diplo imprint Jeffree, exemplifies their beats ‘n’ hooks purity with a relentless lyrical assault.
DJ Cosmo, our headliner’s own musical backing, offers a sufficiently animated 30 minute interval DJ set, before the stage is taken by meteoric riser Azealia Banks. Beyond her runaway hit from last year, the British hip-hop scene seems happy for her to stay as she continues to consistently electrify audiences off the back of début EP 1991.
Tonight’s set is no less frenetic, an audio-visual carnival of flashing LEDs, backup dancers, and giant screens to match the slick beats. Long before inevitable closer 212, revellers are already rapturous beneath the thrall of Banks's playfully aggressive wordplay, on favourites such as Liquorice and Bambi. The sassy rapper leaves the stage without an encore, leaving listeners eager for a more fleshed-out set once tentative début Broke with Expensive Taste hits our ears next February.