Aitch is aware of how you can throw a celebration, and this one – the most important date of a sold-out UK tour – has all of it. Acid journey visuals, multi-coloured strobes, shock friends, and on the centre of the chaos, the artist born Harrison Armstrong, standing tall and proud behind a pyrotechnic show that’s spewing fireplace, smoke and lasers. With flames so potent you may really feel the warmth from the opposite facet of the room, his arrange definitely makes for one almighty flex.
Donning a leather-based jacket embellished with this night’s date and the London skyline, the Mancunian rapper has each purpose to have a good time. His 12 months’s successes have been prodigious: this 10,000-capacity gig on the capital’s Alexandra Palace has been lengthy sold-out, whereas his long-awaited debut album, August’s ‘Close To Home’, landed at Quantity Two after lead single ‘Child’ – which interpolates Ashanti’s 2003 hit ‘Rock Wit U’ – spent a complete summer season contained in the High 10. Current adverts for Lynx and Relentless Vitality additionally counsel a younger, business-savvy artist taking part in the sport and having enjoyable with it.
Alone however for a DJ, Aitch kicks off with ‘Style (Make It Shake)’, the identical monitor that noticed him cost out of UK rap’s on-line battlegrounds and into the mainstream in 2018. His efficiency sees him cross the baton from period to period, segueing the riotous ‘Buss Down’ (from 2019’s ‘AitcH20’ mixtape) into the jittery breakbeats of ‘Uncooked’, whereas seeing each stream by means of to the top.
However the 22-year-old makes an effort to share the highlight, too; Aitch is a playful and instinctive host, eager to contain everybody within the motion. All through a near-two hour set, appearances from a pantheon of his friends embrace Tion Wayne, AJ Tracey, Young T & Bugsey, Giggs and ArrDee. When the latter bounds onto the stage for incandescent collaboration ‘Struggle’, flexing his muscle groups like a pocket-sized Popeye, the similarities between the pair is sort of startling: tight blonde crew cuts, large set eyes, ever-mischievous smiles. “Who thinks me and him seem like one another?,” says Aitch, stating the plain as turns to face his buddy, providing each a fist bump and a conspiratorial wink. Hundreds of voices holler in settlement.
A few of the visceral thrill of Aitch’s tongue-twisting bars is inevitably misplaced on this venue’s wide-open house. When he groups up with Coventry-via-Kent duo A1 x J1 to blitz by means of their ‘Newest Tendencies’ remix – a monitor that’s supremely charismatic on file – its vivid, jagged rhythms are lowered to a refined bass grumble, notably as A1’s mic doesn’t look like on. Aitch doesn’t appear to note, nonetheless; whereas away from the mic, he works the entrance rows like a seasoned professional, blowing kisses at followers and posing for footage – his unwavering self-belief clearly arduous at work.
It’s the softer cuts that really show his star energy, nonetheless, as they permit Aitch to maneuver between mild and shade. As he performs atop a raised platform, ‘Belgrave Highway’’s central theme of tension undercuts his status as a cheeky flirt, whereas ‘My G’ sees him welding a singalong refrain to some intensive work on his household life – notably his relationship together with his youthful sister. “Make some noise for the folks you like,” he shouts as its remaining chorus rings out, and your entire room swoons in a cloud of dopamine.
‘Style (Make It Shake)’
‘Carry It Again’
‘Strike A Pose’ (with Younger T & Bugsey)
‘Newest Tendencies’ (with A1 x J1)
‘Keisha & Becky’
‘Struggle’ (with ArrDee)
‘Protected to Say’
‘Let’s Go’ (with Tion Wayne)
‘Simply Coz’ (with Giggs)
‘Shut To House’
‘Rain’ (with AJ Tracey)