- 05 Nov 18
Following on from a summer of explosive festival slots, Bank holiday Sunday saw Versatile bring their unique brand of hip-hop to the Olympia Theatre. Packed out tents at both Longitude and Electric Picnic festival led to a very swift sell out of the prestigious theatre. Having missed the Dublin duo on both occasions, I seized the opportunity to see what all the hype was about.
First observation of the night was of the noticeably higher security presence than any previous attended Olympia show. A generous frisk later I made my way into the venue, only to be greeted with an individual dancing to a generic dance beat whilst wearing a Shrek mask. This truly set the tone for the night: one of fun and light-heartedness, in line with the tongue in cheek content of the headlining duo’s lyrical content.
In keeping with the Shrek theme, the support on the night was brought to us by the Outburst pal All-Stars. Rather than treat us to full set each, we were treated to a select few bars from a collective of friends and associates, including Dania, James Costello, Jay Counsel among others. Each artist held their own on the iconic stage, spitting lyrics that went over this reviewer’s head, but were gleefully sung back by almost every member of the audience. Voices were high, as were the spirits, and atmosphere reached fever pitch for the arrival of Versatile.
And arrive they did. Producer Evan Kennedy took up residence behind the decks, now adorned with the ghostly logo of Versatile, and began the opening bars of Perfume. Casper Walsh made his entrance as the crowd erupted. Following a few bars and cheeky poses, Eskimo Supreme joined the action as the crowd raised another notch in volume. “I know just why you like me, yeah you wanna be just like me” sang the duo in total unison with their audience of followers. The quick one, two punch of “Donedeal Season” and “Your Aul One” followed. The lyrics being spat became more and more explicit, the mothers of both rappers could be seen head in hands, but still beaming proudly.
A piano interlude soon followed which took me deftly by surprise, followed by the most recent single “Don’t change”. Stylistically different to all other tracks on show tonight, it maintained the same tongue in cheek provocativeness of the duo.
“We Sell Brown” closed the main set as the duo leave the stage to the chorus of “one more tune”. Returning in Breaking Bad esc hazmat suits, only one song remains. “Everybody’s out to get me” scream the crowd as the duo close the show with viral hit ‘Ketamine’. Every single bar of the song is sang back as the audience does not miss a beat.
Whether you are onboard with the duo’s tongue-in-cheek humour or not, Versatile and their Outburst collective truly understand their market. For now, the duo only seem to be heading for bigger and better things. With a UK tour just announced, 2019 could prove to be an even bigger year for the group. But as this show proves, if you embrace the fun and silliness of it all, you are in for a great time.