Live Review: Headie One @ Rock City

Headie One’s ‘Edna’ Tour came to Nottingham’s Rock City to showcase the album of the same name. Headie One, real name Irving Adjei, delivered a conscientious pooling of drill and grime alongside spectacular lighting and an appearance from Nottingham’s own Young T & Bugsey, serving up a storm of a show to Nottingham’s crowd. Nieve O'Donnell reviews.

Best known for tracks Know Better, 18Hunna, Both, Only You Freestyle featuring Drake and Ain’t It Different with AJ Tracey and Stormzy, most tracks from Headie One are recognisable even if attendees aren’t as familiar with the rest of his discography. Support acts Moneybagz, Dezzie and Bandokay & Double LZ warmed up the crowd successfully. When the lights were turned down in anticipation for Headie One, the crowd became raucous.

A highlight of the evening was the arrival of Young T & Bugsey onto the stage. Originating in Nottingham, having the duo on stage was like a homecoming and the crowd reciprocated the love for their popular track with Headie One, Don’t Rush. Most of the students in the audience would be used to hearing the song played whilst at a Rock City club night. It was a nice change to actually see and hear them live on the Rock City stage.

Reflective and open throughout, Headie One stated that Nottingham had been “the best city so far”. Becoming a master of his crowd, he used small interludes to hype the audience up. Repetitive chants of “Go Headie” were recurrent throughout the show, the crowd clearly taking advantage of small gaps in the set list in order to give the love back to Headie. A series of enthusiastic mosh pits also took place and, at one point, a shoe even made an appearance in the tangled amalgamation of joyous hands and bodies. Adjei must’ve been flattered by the reception as he declared that he was “having a lovely time in Nottingham right now”.

''Whilst lyrically dark, Headie One’s tour is comparatively scintillating''

The lighting was diverse although simple, setting up a precedent for the show as one that doesn’t necessarily need lighting to engage the crowd but certainly helpful in aiding Headie One on his deliverance and presence. Moving from thematically focused red, blue and green as well as a row of spotlights towards the back, the lighting ebbed and flowed with the potent lyricism of each song, making the lights seem like a part of Headie One’s musical entourage.

Having suffered his own personal hardships, Headie One’s lyricism on Edna (inspired by the passing of his late mother when he was just a child) and new mixtape, Too Loyal For My Own Good, is honest and reflects daily confrontations with the realities of crime and gang culture. Whilst lyrically dark, Headie One’s tour is comparatively scintillating. He’s touring some of the UK’s biggest venues and is able to highlight the possibility of taking on creative endeavours to young, aspirational audiences despite adversity. Edna also debuted at No. 1, making it the first drill album to achieve such a milestone.

Whether you deem yourself a grime, drill or rap fan, Headie One’s show was impressive. The lighting, his stage presence and clear passion created an atmosphere that was entirely unmatched.

Written by: Nieve O'Donnell

Edited by: Amrit Virdi

Featured image courtesy of Nieve O'Donnell. Permission to use granted to The Mic.

In article videos courtesy of Headie One via YouTube.