XOYO is the place and A2 is at the centre of it all on this cold and crispy Wednesday night. Selecta Mercedes Benson is on the ones and twos in the interim—spinning all things melodic from New Gen to mumble rap setting a vibe that only further anticipates an excitement for the man of the moment.
Amongst the crowd there’s chatter about what they’re looking forward to hearing from the illusive rapper as well as social media click it stories. Opening up the show is Sue Lily who captures the attention of the audience with her laid back sound glazing across the walls of the building nudging everyone to be in their zone and vibe out.
It’s 21:37—actor and poet Thea Gajic graces the stage in a bright red Adidas hoddie and steps to the mic, the air is filled with dusty smoke and bomber jackets galore. Thea starts off with her poem on ‘Jasmine Tea’ and the building is in an uproar, as they recite the poem with her, she smiles in endearment and laughs; the audience continues. It’s just the beginning and off course it has to be pulled up. It is then I know that A2 has a special night planned ahead. Enters A2 also in a bright red jacket and hoodie with the laces pulled up to his face. He starts spitting. A heavy bass warrants the earthquake underneath us and we’re in our own hemisphere revelling in what appears to be a life changing moment.
Going through a collection of fan favourites ‘Pluto’ ‘FlowersxPatron’ from his previous EP’s ‘More Sleep’ & ‘Once Too Many’ the atmosphere is trippy, neon lights illuminate the many eccentric personas in the building. The enigmatic singer and rapper works the stage well but is very much about his supporters. His cult following are determined for him to excel, going back and forth with every head bop for head bop, lyric for lyric, unified electricity connecting them all to his organic and intrinsic truths.
After shelling it down with ‘Winter Winner’ he surprises us with an assist from Etta Bond. Having never performed their collaboration ‘Never Did’ together before, this is an exceptionally pleasant highlight of the night. It’s poetically rooted flow stitches the night tighter and enhances the contagious influence A2 has permeating onto us. A2 is delivering a pretty cold set so far shedding a couple drops of H2O, so he steps off stage briefly and says “I’ll be back” only to take a minute to wipe his face. On his return he hits us with the standout track ‘Lowest-key’ and trust when I say that you needed to be there to experience this moment.
Nothing could falter his balance, the rapper whose mysterious element only amped his persona was in a happy place and did not hold back. Constantly smiling and absorbing his second sold out show right in front of our eyes.
He spuds a camera man and continues to spit ‘Spooky Freestyle’ as if he’s spitting for his friends in their living room. For ‘Love Songs About Nobody’ A2 takes a seat on the edge of the stage in an attempt to get closer to the audience but can’t be seen by many. So he does half of the verse before standing and says “l shouldn’t be selfish” only further certifying his main focus – ensuring he caters to those paying fans.
During ‘Holograms’ and ‘DBLE’ I felt as though I was spiralling into an abyss and it was the good kind, like a profound moment of clarity that never ends and I’m just dabbing and moshpitting into. The infectious bass and hard hitting production left the audience to create moments everlasting and it only solidified A2’s strong and silent approach was worth it.
Tinie Tempha and Bonkaz amongst a few lit up the stage with A2, all types of energies surrounded him creating a mosh – a force that couldn’t be penetrated. In that moment he was most appreciated for creating something so wavy that bound people together with the same thoughts, feelings, and understanding.
A2 ended the show with ‘Gold’ leaving the audience in a trance. Before exiting he promised 2017 would be a ‘big year’ and with a smile like a Cheshire cat he thanked everyone for coming. Although the show started late I felt maybe he should have finished with ‘DBLE’ – second thought maybe not. The lingering hype would be uncontrollable and as the crowd dispersed I realised I’d prefer to not involuntarily be in a mosh pit.
Repping The 7, producer and rapper who has a lot more in store and after last night I can testify that A2 will be a sight to see.