It’s been two full days since Dizzee Rascal performed his debut album, Boy in Da Corner, at London’s Copper Box Arena, but I still can’t get the phrase Live O out of my head.
Granted, it was chanted so many times it became almost like a mantra, but it summed up the atmosphere so perfectly, I’d be disappointed if it didn’t bag itself a slot in the Oxford dictionary.
Definition: When something gets you amped as f*ck – usually Dizzee Rascal induced.
It’s probably worth pointing out from the jump that the hour long set was not without its faults. Where were the features? Did he forget the words to “Jezebel”, or did he decide not to offend any loose-kneed girls in the venue? And did he really just bounce without giving the crowd one more tune no matter how much they hollered for it?
Yes, Dizzee left the stage in an uber cool “drops mic” fashion. I probably would do too if I was performing at a show that came about as a 1,500 signature strong petition demanding it happened… so In effect we did get what we asked for.
In saying that, let’s not underestimate how much it may have took for him to rummage around in his now 30ish-year-old self to summon the spirit of that boisterous 18-year-old from Bow who penned an album that easily earned hall of fame status, marking a seminal moment for grime in the UK.
Thirteen years after the album was released, the man behind the music has matured and so has his voice. It’s hard not to miss the way it would crack and squeak in his heyday, but in all honesty, it would not have been able to compete with the bassline that had my liver quivering, the fillings in my teeth shaking loose, and had me wondering if there were any females in the crowd who had accidentally orgasmed from the ridiculously strong vibrations.
If by any chance anyone had found themselves aroused, being jolted around by a moshing crowd would have snapped them out of it.
I personally said R.I.P to my hairstyle and earrings within a minute of the set starting
I personally said R.I.P to my hairstyle and earrings within a minute of the set starting, but let’s be real: if they had managed to survive the frenzy created by songs like “Sitting Here” and “Stop Dat”, the east London MC had not done his job properly.
When the crowd were not moshing or doing some sort of gun finger skank, they were engaged in a grimey hood karaoke, spitting along to “I Luv U”, “Fix up, Look Sharp” and “Jus’ a Rascal” with such ferocity, their G-factor was on full display.
Naturally, the energy simmered down towards the end of the set — some people were clearly powered by lithium batteries and others by zinc. However, the biggest factor in the gradual comedown was the original album track listing which saw some of his more introspective, slower tempo songs appearing near the end. Thank the universe for that! It definitely gave me chance to recalibrate my level of “hypeness” before leaving the venue and having to integrate with the general public.
Through all the dancing, rapping and sweating, there were a few moments when I had an almost out of body experience and travelled back to moments in my life triggered by memories some of the tracks held for me.
Then and even now it struck me: for many of the 5000 plus people that were in the east London venue, it’s nostalgia more than anything that made this show so great. And for those who were probably not old enough to have experienced it in it’s full glory the first time round, it marked a chance to really feel retro grime in all its glory.
Special thanks to my lovely sister Nadelia for providing some of the pictures that I didn’t have a steady enough hand to take.