Azealia Banks: Plug, Sheffield

The freezing wintry weather had no effect on tonight’s attendance for an audience with New Yorker Azealia Banks as the show sold out several weeks ago along with all the other dates of her first UK headline tour. Since being named top of the NME’s cool list and third in the BBC’s Sound of 2012 the 20 year old now London based Azealia her seen her star fly into orbit. Despite her debut single 212 just grazing the top 75 in the UK singles chart late last year, social networking via YouTube especially has brought her a massive audience who obviously like what they see and hear.

Lightening quick and very explicit, her rapping brought her to the attention of many labels and the initial contest was won albeit fleetingly by XL, the same label as Adele. It seemed she was following the Adele success template in a very different genre but that didn’t work out, so after a short hiatus she came back to work with Adele’s 21 album  producer, the top notch Paul Epworth and had just been signed by major player Universal .

Before the main event however DEMS take the stage, a trio originally from Edinburgh but now based in London. Boasting infectious electronic beats with a twist of understated guitar, it’s perhaps unkind to describe them as a poor man’s XX, but they didn’t quite do it for the majority of the audience who at times talked louder than the bands vocals. The highlight of, for me an entertaining set, was House, released late last year to some critical acclaim.

Ms Banks kept the crowd waiting but when she arrived on stage she was on fire from the off, with the crowd roaring she entered with pink bolero and obligatory shades both of which came off before then end of opener Grandscam. Predictably her tee-shirt’s logo was unprintable but that too later came off later revealing a skimpy bra which had the desired effect on the audience.

Musically Chill$ went down well and L8R had the front fringe rapping along but the room erupted as Azealia introduced 212 as the one you’ve all come to hear, for 3 minutes the room was bedlam  and then she was gone. A 25 minute cameo which leaves a muted crowd unsure whether to leave or wait for more but the house lights provide the answer. Certainly a good taster of a very talented young lady who whilst not being a pioneer is definitely set to blaze a trail of her own

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