Live Review/Aitch @ O2 Academy

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By Lucas Arthur, First Year Geography

19 year old newcomer Aitch took to O2 Academy last week for an impressive headliner, showing off  debut album AitcH20 with his 'skippy flows, tight lyrics and distinctive Mancunian cadence'.

Aitch steps out wearing Jordan 1s, a tracksuit and a shit-eating grin. The 19-year-old has been riding high since the start of 2018, following features alongside Stormzy, GRM Daily and other big names in the UK grime scene, earning him a massive following. Early singles like ‘Straight Rhymez’ and ‘Daily Duppy’ showed off his skippy flows, tight lyrics and distinctive Mancunian cadence, all of which featured on his September debut album.

As he launches into ‘Already’, it’s clear that he owns the stage. He swaggers up and down, his mostly teenage fans throwing back every word of the chorus and watching on as he belts out the verses, punctuated with twirls of his finger. It’s difficult to make out the lyrics, but that doesn’t matter much: His tracks consist almost entirely of innuendos and brazen posturing, criticised by some for being “tasteless” and “objectifying”. But to say that is to miss the point: It’s fun to watch him nail his tongue-twister flows, and the cheeky grin he wears throughout makes him instantly likeable.

In between tracks he’s almost flirting with the crowd; “You’re lookin’ stunnin’ tonight Bristol!” he smirks, before leading a chorus of Happy Birthday for a girl in the front row. There are screams of delight amid the first bars of ‘Keisha & Becky’, but Aitch orders his DJ to restart the track in order to organise an even bigger mosh pit. He’s constantly engaging, making each half of the crowd compete on who’s the loudest, or plucking out a fan’s phone to take a selfie; There’s a glowing sea of iPhones held aloft at any given point in the gig, but perhaps that’s to be expected from a genre in which most artists embrace social media wholeheartedly.

Lucas Arthur/Epigram

Coming into the final tracks of his relatively short set, Aitch manages to keep the energy levels riding high. The track ‘French Kisses’ seems to already be a fan favourite despite only releasing at the end of November, and he takes a second to jokingly diss Stormzy and “Some ginger fucker called Ed Sheeran” for taking his No.1 spot in the Singles Chart - ‘Taste (Make It Shake)’ peaked at No.2. Closing out the set with ‘Buss Down’ and ‘Strike a Pose’, he and his crew empty out bottles of water and hurl signed T-shirts into the audience. Even if his music isn’t to your taste, there’s no doubt that he puts on a stellar performance.

Featured Image: Lucas Arthur/Epigram


Did you catch Aitch at O2 Academy? Let us know below!

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