LIVE: Devlin @ Scala, Kings Cross
Special Guests Galore
It’s only right that Devlin’s cross-country route saw him return to his hometown for the fourth and final leg of his UK mini tour. Having touched stages in Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester, the rapper landed in London last night to complete his tour in style, recruiting a number of his music scene peers to lend a hand.
The event took place at Scala – a higgledy-piggledy venue that was packed with Devlin look-a-likes. Filling the floor, balconies and corridors, excited fans waited patiently for the Dagenham-born artist to bless the mic in this intimate setting.
A prompt Krept & Konan jumped on stage to hype the crowd, and the dynamic duo did just that. After kicking things off with an ‘Otis’ freestyle – an instrumental guaranteed to get things going - they performed their renowned ‘I Play Dirty’ (Krept suitably sporting a red ‘I Play Dirty’ tee). His ‘pockets all pumped up’, an energetic G FrSH joined Krept & Kones for ‘L.O.N D-Boy’, the crowds chanting the chorus back at the trio. Hot on the heels of ‘Go Down South’ and their version of ‘The Motto’, Krept & Konan welcomed Yungen and Double S to the stage to spit on ‘Paranormal Part 2’. Momentum in full swing, the rap duo performed their Boy Better Know/I Play Dirty collab featuring gadget man JME, but unfortunately no BBK blood was in the building. A Mikill Pane lookalike brought out an extra mic stand, before Krept & Konan slowed things down with their final song of the night ‘Let Go’. They performed this track with singer-songwriter Lewis Watson, who strummed his guitar as the crowd waved their phones from left to right.
Next up: Devlin. The audience now well and truly warmed and the main attraction’s stage set, a ‘We Want Devlin’ chant began to ring around the venue. His band in position, a pint perched on an amp, it was time for the main man himself. A hooded Devlin stepped on stage and started spitting bars, phones raised in the air as fans began snapping shots of the Dagenham-born artist. He launched into old material and new, loyal fans seeming to know the lyrics to both. Individuals scrambled by the front of the stage, desperate to touch the rapper.
Highlights from Devlin’s set included his performance of ‘Runaway’ – a popular single from his debut album ‘Bud, Sweat and Tears’. After telling his audience to make some noise ‘if you think London is the best city in the world’, Devlin’s 2009 track ‘London City’ was well received here in the capital itself. The MC plugged his new album ‘A Moving Picture’, announcing a February release and apologising to his patient fans for the wait. The MC appeared relaxed on stage, occasionally sipping from a beer bottle to refresh his palette.
Returning to the stage in a fresh tee after a brief break, Devlin rhymed over the atmospheric ‘No Church In The Wild’ instrumental to pounding blue stage lights. The East Londoner invited a variety of guests on stage at different moments throughout his set, including two female vocalists and supporting artists Krept & Konan. Most notably, people’s champion Wretch 32 bounced on stage to perform his and Devlin’s new song ‘Off With Their Heads’. Wretch’s brief but memorable appearance reminded us just how professional this now well-established artist really is. Momentum built as Devlin’s set continued, culminating in an impressive high-energy finish. While entirely engrossed in his performance, an appreciative looking Devlin let out the odd smile in between tracks and repeatedly thanked his audience for coming out, marking him as a likeable personality.
Although Devlin’s performance clearly impressed his fans, the evening has left me even more interested in energetic support act Krept & Konan, and special guest G FrSH. Nonetheless, Devlin ended this mini tour on a high and left his fans eager to continue with him on his journey to success.