Little Simz ends 2019 with a seamless performance in Leeds
London rapper Little Simz has had a stellar 2019. Her album GREY Area, released in March, received critical acclaim across the board and even earned a Mercury Prize nomination. The recognition and praise that the album received was a worthy moment of gratification to mark the years of graft she had put in prior to this release.
This is a mentality that translates seamlessly into Simz’s live show, a sizeable amount of effort and hard work has clearly gone into everything surrounding the performance. She explodes onto the stage to the gritty beat of 'Boss', before whipping out a megaphone to recreate the distorted, lo-fi sound of her vocals on the album cut. She executes it as a perfect set opener and the crowd are left energised and immediately locked in.
Simz then delves deeper into her back-catalogue, telling the story of her old next door neighbour in the form of God Bless Mary. It’s at this point in the show where anyone who hadn’t been won over, was now fully on side with Simz, not just as a performer - but as a person. She pays homage to the titular character, telling tales of how forgiving she was, putting up with endless noise and racket made in the early hours of the morning while Simz was laying the foundations of her upcoming music blossoming.
After reeling off a few more cuts from her discography, the lights suddenly get significantly dimmer. She demands that every member of the crowd prepares for what’s about to come. A few seconds later, the sinister string sections of Venom spark excitement through everyone in the room. The track, which landed a spot on the latest Top Boy soundtrack, contains one of the hottest verses in the year, where she goes in on society’s failure to recognise women in the working world. The climax of the verse sees every spectator scream “never giving credit where it’s due ‘cos you don’t like pussy in power - venom”. The is followed by bombastic percussion and an eruption of energy. An undeniable highlight of the show.
Simz urges the audience to get their dancing shoes on, before breaking into the watertight groove of Selfish. The chorus, sung by fellow Londoner Cleo Sol, ignites the biggest sing-along moment of the evening, while the verses showcase a relentless aura of self-love - an apt theme to apply to an already euphoric crowd.
Album opener, Offence, is deployed to close the set. It acts as a perfect summary to the no-nonsense attitude that has flowed through the evening. Little Simz is a performer who will do everything in her power to win over her audience from the off, but simultaneously will take no prisoners. 2019 has been littered with milestones for her career, and with this tour seemingly being her crowning moment, she proved that the next milestones are already in touching distance.