Professor Green – HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, Tue 29 Nov 2011
Confident and professional show from favourite Hackney rapper
The majority of the Picture House crowd for this gig is screaming teenage girls and skinny chino-clad boys, eager to see their favourite Hackney rapper. Booty-shaking duo Rizzle Kicks warm them up with a fun, high-energy performance, featuring their mariachi-band-echoing hit ‘Down with the Trumpets’.
The party vibe is continued by DJ IQ’s set, before Professor Green (Stephen Manderson), walks on stage with a huge smile, opening the show with ‘I’m Back’, from his new album At Your Inconvenience. He appears confident, professional and unfazed by the cheering 1500-strong audience, perhaps a sign of his years of experience as a battle artist.
Alongside the new material, he performs a mix of hits from his 2010 debut album Alive Till I’m Dead. The crowd goes crazy for the famous INXS-sampled guitar rift from ‘I Need You Tonight’, whilst his female backing singer provides strong but smooth vocals for the ‘Just Be Good to Green’ chorus, offering a pleasant contrast to Manderson’s hard-hitting flow. Love or hate his unique voice, the rapper’s delivery is spot-on, sounding almost exactly the same live as he does on record.
The strong chemistry between Manderson, his four-piece band and two backing singers is evident, especially when the atmosphere goes from merry to mellow for ‘Astronaut’, which he describes as ‘a song about a heroin addict.’ The cocky façade of Professor Green is broken down and Manderson’s sentiment shines through. This emotional tone is continued in ‘Never Be a Right Time', as the crowd wave their arms in the air to the heartfelt lyrics.
The cockney-rhymer’s hip hop roots are not forgotten, as a few guest rappers take to the stage for the grimey ‘Upper Clapton Dance’. He then thanks the audience for ‘making his dreams come true’ before performing his recent number one hit ‘Read All About It’, proving that he has definitely won this particular battle.