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Live Review: Macklemore at O2 Academy, Birmingham (8/4/18)


Macklemore has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, a rapper that I’ve always secretly liked simply for the fact that his music is just fun – you can put it on at any time and just listen to it without ever paying attention to it. He does have some deep hip-hop tracks with some depth to them like “Same Love” but for the majority his latest album, Gemini, was just full of bangers. I’ve wanted to catch him on tour for a while now, I missed out on the gigs with Ryan Lewis purely because I was at college and prioritised other things with the finite money I had.

I got to the gig 10-15 minutes before he came on stage and the O2 was sweltering hot, inhumanely hot I’d say. This is a real problem at the O2 Academy in Birmingham and it’s something they need to desperately change because it’s ridiculous and quite dangerous. Anyway, Macklemore rocked on stage to “Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight” the PERFECT opener, it builds into a boiling point and gives him the opportunity to run on stage for his verse, I love that song and it was performed even better with the actual singer of the chorus there in all of his wacky glory.


What erupted from then on was 2 hours of non-stop showmanship from the man himself. Hip-hop fans write Macklemore off but this was genuinely one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to with the screen at the back of the room, the dancers, the live band, and the numerous outfit changes. I swear to god he changed outfit after every song, a personal highlight for me was when he came on dressed as Willy Wonka for the song “Willy Wonka” which is a highlight on the Gemini album anyway. The crazy video at the back along with the bass that was so heavy I could feel the ground shaking and after it had finished I could feel my rib cage still shaking. THAT is bass!

The talking in between songs was always so apt and funny, he’s genuinely a hilarious dude when he’s on stage and he knows how to get a crowd going. When he played “Can’t Hold Us” I was in genuine fear that the balcony was going to collapse as hundreds of people were throwing themselves around and waving their arms in the air. I’ve been to nearly 70 gigs and that is one of the craziest audience reactions I’ve EVER seen to a song, absolutely mental. Crazy. The confetti canons at the end sent the crowd into a frenzy and as the show finished and the lights went down James Brown’s “Get Up” rang around the arena and Macklemore stayed on stage just to dance and throw his equipment for the crowd. If you ever get chance to see Macklemore, don’t turn it down whatever you do.

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