Azealia Banks – O2 ABC, Glasgow, Sat 29 Sep 2012
High energy performance from the Harlem hip hop artist
Before Yung Rapunxel takes to the stage tonight, the crowd are put through a thorough preparation session. The gimp-mask-and-leather-shirted support act Zebra Katz lets everyone know this is not a family show, and Banks’ own DJ Cosmo performs a half hour set of early 90s-style house tracks to bring up to speed those who were absent the first time round (the average audience member sips Coke rather than vodka tonight). When potty-mouthed Harlem hip hop artist Banks takes to the stage, the mood has been perfectly engineered for her winning blend of uptempo party beats and smut-heavy content.
It’s a high-energy atmosphere Banks sustains throughout the set, with the aid of some eye-catching props to retain the interest of her more attention-deficit fans: a light-up bra, flashy back-projections, two backing dancers, lasers, the hair (oh, the hair!). The songs are note, beat and word-perfect, with singles ‘Liquorice’ and ‘212’ (‘the reason most of you people have even heard of me,’ Banks rightly observes) getting the enthusiastic response they deserve.
If there’s any criticism, it’s that things are over way too soon: there’s no encore, and Banks’ stage time amounts to something less than hour (not through want of material – ‘Nathan’, produced by Glasgow’s own Drums of Death, is just one track that fails to make the cut). Evidently the performance has been highly tuned to get the best of Banks’ (and, feeding off her, the crowd’s) energy; an increase in stamina might be something to look forward to next time.