For Giggs, this year has been a storm to his long overdue success. From dropping his highly regarded album Landlord, to featuring on Drake’s iconic More Life track ‘KMT’, to becoming a regular feature on top of festival bills. His headline performance at this year’s Warehouse Project was, to the shock of nobody, a completely sold out affair. A huge capacity gathered outside and slowly filtered in, while the presence of security staff remained reassuring, rather than overbearing.
Rude Kid starts off the night showcasing his extensive knowledge of the genres and styles that are set to soundtrack the hours to follow. His drop of Kano’s ‘3 Wheel Ups’ and JME’s ‘Man Don’t Care’ was a tease of what’s to come from the headline act, but just before Giggs’ verses are about to send the crowd into pandemonium, Rude Kid cuts the tracks, creating an air of anticipation for what most are here to witness. As he continues to spin an eclectic mix of grime, hip hop, drum and bass and more, including short snippets of his own tracks in collaboration with Ghetts, Rude Kid’s bravery of merging such a wide spectrum of genres pays off, even throwing in wild card tracks like Panjabi MC’s ‘Mundian To Bach Ke’ did the trick in getting people hyped.
The crowd almost doubles in size for Devlin’s stage presence and screeches made his initial bars almost inaudible. Not missing a beat or single word from his polished lyricisms, Devlin shells out live renditions from his back catalogue, including tracks from his most recent release ‘The Devil Within’. ‘This is for the old school fans’, he states before his collaboration with Ed Sheeran in a rework of ‘All Along The Watchtower’ begins to play, and Devlin’s curtain call is a testament to the skillset of the long-running grime star - while his audience’s reception is a testament to his loyal and large fanbase.
Compared to other acts on the lineup, this girl is relatively new to the scene and Nadia Rose has no trouble in making her presence known as she burst onto the stage and immediately begins her explosive set with the high energy ‘Tight Up’ - causing a dramatic rise in temperature amongst the already hot and sweaty audience. Being only one of two women on the lineup, Nadia proved her rightful place on that stage among her peers, spitting bars as perfected as her male counterparts and getting a party atmosphere well underway. Her short and sweet set consisting of her biggest singles with, ‘Skwod’ and ‘Crank It’ also combing her high octane dancing, she well and truly displayed that she was just as exhilarated to be there as her audience was to have her.
BBC Radio One and 1Xtra DJ Charlie Sloth takes on an hour slot prior to Giggs’ finale and his pre-recorded introduction, followed by his own introduction, leads straight into the 60 minute journey through the freshest grime and hip hop sounds. Mixes including J Hus, MoStack, Stormzy and more genre favourites had everyone dancing and brick dust falling from the arched ceiling. With grime and hip hop being such a vast and versatile genres, it was a little disappointing to hear the same tracks throughout the night; although the drop of Big Shaq’s ‘Man’s Not Hot’ was always met with the same hyped reaction, hearing it for the third time made crowd participation less enthused than the previous plays - and finishing a set with it - including at least two reloads - before the main act was a risky move from Sloth.
Finally gracing the stage, Giggs’ initial appearance was a little underwhelming, as the bass of a beat shook the space, his dark and dusky tone was barely heard, and his opening number unrecognizable if it weren’t for the crowd echoing every word. Swiftly rectified though, as The Landlord went on to perform the most well known tracks from his roster. Offering flawless live versions of ‘Lock Doh’, his verses from Kano’s ‘3 Wheel Ups’ and JME’s ‘Man Don’t Care’ as well as his hugely celebrated verse from Drake’s single ‘KMT’ (no sign of Drizzy himself though, much to the dismay of many watching), this performance was an offering not only to his fans, but also to those only familiar with his most famed tracks. Having claimed his own style of rap, with funeral tempo bars and a cold beat to match, Giggs also claimed ownership of the stage, finishing off a night with his biggest hit ‘Whippin’ Excursion’ and leaving a lasting impression in the Store Street venue.
Images courtesy of Jody Hartley