Kano @ The Garage, Glasgow, 16 Oct
For all that grime has been the hottest international trend of 2016, Kano seems pretty unfazed by it all. The East London veteran might not have the pulling power of Skepta or Stormzy, but his track record speaks for itself; chart successes, MOBO awards and a Mercury Music Prize nomination.
Still, The Skinny is taken aback by the army of fans that greet his arrival at The Garage on a cold Glasgow evening. Backed by a full band, including a lively brass contingent, Kano barely stops to breathe as he races through cuts from new album, Made in the Manor. From the blistering rap-rock opener Hail to the sprawling new single T-Shirt Weather in the Manor, every flow and nuance is delivered immaculately.
It almost feels too spotless at points. His live band give the new tracks a precision and dynamism that you won’t get from a DJ, but they also feel a tad overrehearsed. Kano makes up for this by being a natural performer, dropping fresh references into his rhymes and interacting with the crowd well – he even gets them on board with his bold ‘This is England’ refrain.
Although the set takes a while to get going, a party atmosphere ultimately prevails by the time he draws for the big guns. The stirring A Roadman’s Hymn yields the first major ‘reload’ of the night while the reaction to throwback banger 3 Wheel-ups is nothing less than explosive, forcing Kano to go up another gear for the encore.
When it comes to the nitty gritty, Kano has enough ammunition to finish off any rival emcee. However, getting hyped and screaming down a mic isn’t all that gives him a buzz anymore. Judging by his meticulous approach, he has half an eye on his legacy.