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Live Review: Joey Bada$$ @ Enmore Theatre – 18.01.2018

On Thursday night, Brooklyn born rapper Joey Bada$$ took to the Enmore Theatre stage in full force. Nyck Caution was perfectly chosen as the support act with the room by now filled to the brim, people pressed against the already dripping walls. The running times were going a little late which just made the crowd more revved up than ever, going crazy for the songs that just played in between the sets.

At 9:45pm, Joey’s DJ began to warm up the crowd even more, playing snippets of tracks by Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper and Gucci Mane. After about fifteen minutes of this the lights turned to a blinding blue wash as the haunting piano intro of ROCKABYE BABY played Joey in. The lighting in this show was intense. Over ten rows of four big lights surrounded the rapper and his DJ as they changed colour (mainly focusing on blue and red) and moved direction to every beat of each song. The set was complete with the American flag as depicted on his ‘ALL AMERIKKAN BADA$$’ album as his floor to ceiling backdrop.

There were two main standout tracks for the night, the first one being TEMPTATION, which played around the middle of the of his set. The chorus for this was enormous as it’s definitely one of the easier ones to sing along to. Most of the crowd rapped every word alongside Joey with every single smartphone in the air filming him. The audience really roared at the seven-foot sparks that shot up from the ground in the last chorus with Joey jumping around on the stage, letting the music play out for the crowd to sing.

The second standout had to be DEVASTATED. The theatre shook. The floor felt as if it would crack under everyone’s feet at any moment. Every word was yelled out from the audience as they jumped up and down in perfect unison. This also came with special effects with high speed smoke machines and sparks flying high. This song acted as Joey’s last song of the set as well as his encore. He played the whole song in full intensity and energy and had everyone thinking it was over before he came back on and played another chorus to finish it all off. Afterwards he stood, arms outstretched, soaking up all the applause he could get. He was shirtless and sweaty and so was half the audience.

The bass throughout this show was almost deafening. Even standing at the back it ran through every body like an earthquake, especially in FOR MY PEOPLE. Joey opened up two big mosh pits throughout the show, one in the beginning and one towards the end. These were huge, creating a space in the crowd that you didn’t know could exist before as everyone else was body-to-body on the edges of the venue. There was not a dry torso in the room. Every surface of the venue was wet with the humidity and sweat of 1600 people.

Joey Bada$$ did play about six songs from previous records including No.99 and Big Dusty, however it was the songs from his newest album that really sold the show. Other highlights were LEGENDARY as the brass instrumental created a funkier vibe in comparison to the rest of the setlist. Another was a new song that hasn’t been released yet titled, Pull Up. He let the audience know the chorus first (just ‘Pull up’ repeated four times) and then played the song amongst yellow lights, demanding “x1000” energy from the room.

Overall, this show was high energy and high intensity from start to finish. He played for just over an hour and I think that hour was everyone’s workout for the day. People flooded out the venue doors looking like they’d gone for a swim during the middle of his set. Guys were ringing out their shirts in the street and some sprinting out the doors just to feel some fresh air.

Photos by Vincent Shaw