Live Review: Wretch 32

Rachel Cullum 14 May 2012

Wretch 32

The Junction, 11th May 2012

The name Wretch 32 has been popping up everywhere you look in the past year, whether in his live cameo on Hollyoaks, his ‘unorthodox’ sampling of a Stone Roses classic on his second single (see what I did there?) or taking the stage in the latest Adidas advert. So when the Sound of 2011 nominee crash-landed at the Junction on his second headline tour, complete with a kick-ass backing band and a host of new talent, it was always going to be a big night.

The three support acts were all well-received by the crowd and each had attitude in spades, as well as the professionalism to deal with a couple of minor technical hitches. 23 year-old Kyra provided a strong start with her powerful Jessie J-ish vocal acrobatics and on the insanely catchy ‘I Hate My Job’, while London born singer-songwriter L Marshall (a previous collaborator with both Wretch and Loick Essien) successfully brought his unique brand of ‘rhythmic singing’ to the masses in his own right. Last came DJ and producer Jakwob, who hit the stage like a tornado, jumping around almost as much as his audience.

Arriving with the lights strobing and the volume turned up to eleven, Wretch immediately owned the stage. As well as airing some of his new work, Wretch’s hits still made an appearance, notably including a brilliant unexpected mash-up of his single ‘Unorthodox’ with ‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain. Wretch continued to show his knack for combining old and new, cleverly reworking Ed Sheeran, Nero and Labrinth, as well as Coldplay’s anthem ‘Yellow’, which segued seamlessly into his own number one hit ‘Don’t Go’.

Wretch came into his own in a live setting, where he was able to let his wit and personality shine as brightly as his rapping talent. It became clear that behind all the confidence and front he’s still just a regular guy, falling drunk out of clubs and into taxis, making mistakes and realising how quickly time passes. Except that, unlike the rest of us, he’s broadcasting his stories for the whole world to hear. Long may it continue.

Rachel Cullum