- Pics & Vids
- 31 Jul 23
It was a lovely night on the Irish coast, complete with a stunning sunset that stretched across the sky from the West, but all eyes were on the stage as the second night of the new Dun Laoghaire festival Live On The Harbour kicked off. Headlined by grime legend Dizzee Rascal and featuring Versatile and JME, the energy in the crowd was electric with concertgoers jumping with abandon and shouting along to the music.
It was a challenge on a night like this, but JME proved well capable of winning over the crowd from the start, the influential UK-based grime MC finding his people – and connecting with them as though nobody else was there. The Irish hip-hop duo Versatile were similarly well-received. Clearly comfortable onstage in their native Dublin, they bounced their enthusiasm off one another to impressive effect. As someone who's fresh in from the US, I don't know their songs individually, but they quickly whipped the crowd into a lather, with their rapid-fire verses and infectious energy.
Dizzee Rascal was, of course, the headliner, and you could feel the anticipation on what was the 20th Anniversary of the release of his revolutionary debut album Boy In Da Corner. The crowd waited for Rascal to take to the stage, thoroughly warmed up by the previous acts and itching to move. It was a contagious excitement, one that blanketed the crowd as people fought to get to the front, the darkening night sky adding a charge of electricity to it.
Dizzee Rascal is regarded as one of the most successful and influential UK-based rappers of all time, and it showed in everything he did. With a solid performance and effective crowd work that showcased his twenty years of experience doing live shows, I found myself lost in the performance as both the crowd and I were pulled in by the booming bass-line – tracks like 'I Luv U', 'Brand New Day', 'Fix Up, Look Sharp', 'Jus' A Rascal', 'Cut ’Em Off' and 'Hold Ya Mouf' all sounding as powerful as ever..
At one point early in the set, he mentioned that it had been twenty years since his breakout album, Boy In Da Corner was released. Some people in the crowd could remember that time, many probably could not – but that didn't stop them from knowing the words, or from jumping like their lives depended on it. A great night's music...