Saturday 28 April 2012

Professor Green // Live Review, Leeds O2 Academy

Stephen Manderson, aka Professor Green has already had a phenomenal career thus far and, since his hit single “Read All About It” claimed the number one spot, things have really taken off, currently on his biggest tour to date. So, Est.1987 headed down to Leeds O2 Academy to see what Professor Green’s sold out live show had to offer.  

Professor Green’s “warm up team” suitably gained the crowd’s attention mixing popular tracks such as Kanye’s “Gold Digger” and Dizzee’s “Bonkers” in preparation for the Professor’s grand entrance. The fifteen minute set was the perfect build up to the main event. However, after rousing the crowd, the mood fell a little flat as there was another wait in store before Professor Green took to the stage. The fact that his performance didn’t roll straight into the DJ set stunted the evening. However this was only a minor blip in the show’s energy level and Professor Green made up for it when he finally made it to the stage.

Professor Green's latest album
“I’m back like I never left”, announces Professor Green on album title track “At Your Inconvenience”. Aided by a duo of strong backing vocalists and live band, the crowd are compelled from beginning to end as the Hackney born rapper glides through “Oh My God” with its impressive guitar breakdown, followed by the newer “Don’t Piss Me Off” [D.P.M.O].

A neat trio of songs follows; hit singles “I Need You Tonight” and “Just Be Good To Green” make way for new single “Remedy” which sees a spontaneous ‘onstage party’ mimicking that in the new video to which accompanies the single. The stage fills with Professor Green’s team complete with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s; chaos and merriment ensues and the crowd are dying to be part of it. 
Impromptu stage invasion 
As the stage resumes normality, chants of “Stephen, Stephen, Stephen” grow from the crowd; ““That’s my name, don’t f*****g wear it out, Leeds” laughs Professor Green before breaking into the slower “Astronaut”. The tone of the evening shifts as more sombre songs follow; breaking things down for the audience with “Never Be The Right Time” and the poetic and infectious “Forever Falling”.

““Are there any monsters in the building?” the crowd is asked? Catchy choruses are sandwiched with verses rooted in gritty lyrics as exemplified in “Monster”. Professor Green is confident, engaging and mischievous on stage; at one point venturing amidst the crowd managing to damage his ankle in the process, but that doesn’t let the show falter in anyway. Repeated chants of “Stephen” followed by “Pro Green” bring the rapper back for a sizeable encore. “Jungle” with its heavy electronic beats is followed by an acapella taste of a new tune that Professor Green has been working on.

Professor Green on stage in Leeds
The night comes to an end with undoubtedly Professor Green’s biggest tune “Read All About It” and a final surge of energy resounds through the entire Academy. Professor Green perfectly captures a commercial ‘pop’ sound and combines it with gutsy lyrics that clearly appeal to the audience gathered here this evening.  The crowd may be a little tamer than his previous shows [no mosh pit or stage dives here]; however, that isn’t to say there wasn’t a mass of arms swaying in enthusiasm, proving that Professor Green’s journey is going skyward.   

Catch Professor Green on the road-

Wolverhampton Civic Hall (April 29)

Southend Cliffs Pavilion (30)

Reading Rivermead (May 2)

Cardiff University Great Hall (3)
O2 Academy Brixton (5)