Live Review – Professor Green at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Words: Izzy Bassett / Photos: @thejoeeley

With the rain threatening to soak all fans to the bone, the thickening mass of the crowd queued in anticipation for Professor Green’s long-awaited show at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. The throng of people waited for the doors to open as the sun sunk pulling down the night’s sky. The tour was set to take to the road in March of 2022 ready to celebrate the album At Your Inconvenience turning 10 in 2021 but was unfortunately postponed until this year.

The well-renowned British commodity, once a trendsetter for UK rap, has attained many awards in his career, some of which being: An NME, a MOBO and a BT Digital music award, whilst being nominated for various other different accords. Amongst his successful music career, the rapper, Stephen Manderson has also delved into creating his own docuseries on BBC. Raised in Hackney under the poverty line by his grandmother, known to most as Nanny Pat, he’s fuelled his life experiences into his music, bringing comfort and affinity with hits such as ‘Read all about it,’ ‘Jungle’, ‘Astronaut’ and ‘Lullaby’.

Manderson ended his 5-date tour at Shepherd’s Bush O2 Empire bringing together fans of new and old all in the same room to celebrate how the At Your Inconvenience album had played a part, in our individual lives. The atmosphere was electric as people started running to the front of the barrier (I may have been one of those frantically running), leaning over to get as far as they could to touch the stage. All different walks of life were filling the allotted space, by the time the support acts, Harvey Kirkby and Monster Florence had left the stage the air was muggy with anticipation. 

One of my favourite aspects about the performance was how close and personal it was, every single member of the audience felt like they had been a part of that show. Chances for audience participation created a deafening rendition (slightly tuneless) of choruses and lead lines. The diverse crowd stemming from young to old experienced the same intense emotions a the same time like Professor Green had us on puppet strings. The concert featured a repertoire of chart-toppers, songs from the At Your Inconvenience album and even new unreleased songs that instilled the hungry crowd with musical food for thought.

Energy was a huge part of this show’s core body, the whole room came alive, and it felt like the floor was thrumming beneath our feet. Professor Green was like a spitfire souring full of energy, unable to stop and refuel. One does have to wonder how he gets the lyrics out of his mouth so quick whilst also jumping around the stage. His music emanates a vibe that kind of just makes you want to go feral, throwing all caution to the wind and dancing until your legs give out, you immediately just felt like you’d been thrown back ten years to when the album was first released.

The production elements of the show were notably on point. Although a Professor Green concert isn’t the kind of concert that needs a swanky dance routine and a big backdrop of graphics, the subtly of the lights through each song was incredibly effective.  I think one of my favourite songs from the setlist was ‘Jungle’. The strobe lighting display was something to behold, the lights jumped in and out, it was like being transported through time to a heavy beat, everyone jumping around you, almost psychedelic. It wouldn’t be a good concert if someone didn’t throw beer in your hair from jumping too hard. Another memorable moment was ‘Astronaut’ an extremely monumental song on the setlist to which the lighting was beautiful. Ripples of cold blue tones lit up the whole room and created the mood of the song. The pace of the show was a perfect flow of energy and recovery, the build was quick to the peak and ran down into a few slower songs for recovery before being gathered back up for the end of the show where the chant for more threatened to rock the foundations, it was cleverly thought out and well executed.

The At Your Inconvenience tour was a milestone in Professor Green’s career, the celebration of award-winning music and the declaration of new music to come. It was a night of escape from reality for many in the crowd. The rapper’s music is engrained into the history of Britain and The Shepherd’s Bush Empire. 

Professor Green’s recent single ‘POP SHXT’ (feat. K Koke) is available to download on all streaming services.

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