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Azealia Banks at Concorde 2 Review

Azealia Banks

Azealia Banks kept her crowd waiting like a true diva. Her DJ attempted, with mixed success, to rev-up the student freshers, Brighton fashionistas and those simply curious about the 21-year-old New York singer-rapper who last year topped the NME Cool List.

Eventually, to the strains of The Prodigy’s Out Of Space Banks sashayed on, emanating raunch and sass, wearing hair extensions down to her waist, fishnet tights, tiny denim shorts and a spangly silver bra top decorated with flashing blue lights. After a couple of years operating under the name Miss Bank$, testing the peripheries of club culture, Azealia broke through last year with the single 212, a potty-mouthed sex song that encapsulates the way the current US explosion in “EDM” (Electronic Dance Music) has adapted and adopted European rave, mixing the style with hip-hop and R&B stylistic tics.

Banks was lyrically provocative from beginning to end. For an act who doesn’t even have an album out yet, it was extraordinary how the crowd sang along as she snapped out numbers such as Van Vogue and Chips, the latter from her recent Fantasea mixtape.

On either side, behind her, a male and female dancer, both in kilts, performed synchronised routines before a wall of LED lighting that showed her videos and occasionally flashed up the last taboo word in the English language, which appears to be her calling card.

“I’m very hot,” she said at one point.

“You are hot,” replied a wit in the crowd.

“Thank you, guys,” she responded and was off again, machine-gunning yet more lyrics about genitals, wriggling with calculated sensuality on songs such as Luxury and 1991. She told us Liquorice, a barrage of X-rated slang, is her anthem and proceeded to lay out a whole range of bedroom proclivities. If she didn’t present it with such don’t-give-a-damn youthful female vigour, it would simply be smutty titillation. Naturally she ended on 212, possibly the rudest song in a filthy arsenal of them. It was the one everyone had clearly been waiting for.

As the house lights went up after a meagre 45 minutes the crowd seemed satisfied but what they’d witnessed was essentially a glorified club P.A. that scraped under the banner of acceptability solely down to the charisma and outrageousness of Banks herself. She has the makings of another Rihanna but to reach that league she will have to up her musical game.


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