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GZA (of Wu-Tang Clan) at O2 Academy Islington Review


Following our interview with GZA last week, two of Livemusic's finest had the privilege to go and check out his show at Islington's O2 Academy on Tuesday night. We arrived at the venue late in a deliberate attempt to swerve most of the support acts, let's be honest, we were there to see just one man.

Having spent a sizeable chunk of my adolescence frequenting hip hop shows, I have become slightly disillusioned with the 'scene' a few years back. Don't get me wrong, I still love the music as much as ever, it's just surrounding myself with hundreds of angry 18-year old lads for an entire evening can start to wear a bit thin after a while.

After half a bottle or so of liquid courage (rum) we made the short journey along Islington's Upper Street to the venue. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the venue, it is fairly small, with a capacity of 800. The first thing that stood out was the clarity of the sound, I can't recall the number of hiphop gigs I've been to when the sound has been so abominable that the audience has been left unable to make out what track is playing, let alone what the rapper is saying. Cue a ciggie break.

After 20 minutes or so of the warm-up DJ playing the hypest of hype tunes, GZA Genius took centre-stage.

Over the next hour or so GZA proved once more that his live show packs a hell of a punch. He reeled off his entire repertoire of solo bangers as well as a selection of the Wu-Tang's most notorious hits. There was also a sneak peak at a some of his forthcoming solo material which shows his music is going in an exciting new direction. His passion for the art still burns bright, which is not always the case with some mic veterans. It seems all too easy to do the bare-minimum at shows if everyone in the crowd knows your bars already; roll up, perform, collect the cheque and leave. GZA clearly doesn't share this belief, and it shows.

He lapped up every morsel of adulation from the crowd and even hung around after the gig to meet a few lucky fans.

We left the gig with a rekindled appreciation for live hip hop shows, and for that GZA, we salute you.

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