At the third attempt, grime heavyweight Stormzy finally got to take his “Heavy Is The Head Tour” out on the road. Thankfully, despite the delay, as he rolled into Leeds’ First Direct Arena for only the third date, both his local fanbase and the man himself were pumped up and ready to pick up where the Londoner left off in a field just a few miles down the road where he headlined Leeds Festival in 2021.CHARLI XCX
Bringing out on the road a slightly smaller version of that mammoth production, this was still a show of humungous proportions and one that made pretty damn sure the wait for these fans was worth it. Packed out with concertgoers of all generations, the sound was deafening as the grime favourite appeared at the top of the arena. Slowly dropping down to the stage belting out “Big Michael” as he did, all hell broke loose across the arena with the venue shaking as fans screamed back every word.
Now, as his Reading/Leeds Festival headliner showed that, two albums in, the London rapper was more than worthy of headlining a festival of that magnitude, unsurprisingly, expectations were high for these shows. A flame-filled “Know Me From” had the room bouncing as retina-searing screens flashed up lyrics behind the man himself who was bouncing around lapping up the absolute mayhem he was inciting. He continued to enjoy the adoration as he addressed the crowd looking genuinely moved by the reaction to his appearance.
While the aforementioned “Know Me From” was explosive in its delivery, there were plenty of moments where the rapper slowed it down for some truly magical moments. Unforgettable renditions of “Crown,” performed under a crown lighting rig and “Rainfall,” where Stormzy was flanked by multiple backing singers as he made his way around the walkway jutting out from the stage, where just two of those moments. However, if it is seething, thunderous grime you want, “Wiley Flow” and “Big For Your Boots” would have scratched that itch.
Thousands of fans have waited months for this tour so news of a new album later this year was met with the same hysteria that greeted the rest of the show and, as Stormzy finished his set posing for selfies with delirious fans in the crowd, this humble London rapper cemented his place as one of modern music’s true greats.