Hoodie Allen @ Manchester Academy – Tuesday 3rd September
‘I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you guys coming down here on a Tuesday to rock out with us’ proclaims Hoodie Allen to his sold out (and very sweaty) Manchester crowd. It’s been three years since the 25 year old American rapper last graced UK shores and the reception he receives is not too dissimilar to the homecoming of a local hero. In short, this is a guy who quite clearly loves his fans, and by God do they love him back.
Hailing from the bright lights of New York City, Hoodie (real name Steven Markowitz) has brought his unique brand of feel good pop-rap to the masses via his fan dedication and interaction, not to mention making the majority of his music free to download off his website. The show itself kicks off with support from the AJR Brothers, churning out upbeat indie pop which is sure to be a hit with most of the girls in the crowd considering the threesome’s clean cut, boy-you’d-want-your-parents-to-meet image. Their performance is swiftly followed by a more swag-tastic (apologies) offering from MckNasty, a face you may recognise from last year’s Britain’s Got Talent and also from being the older brother of soul/grime sensation Labrinth. Showcasing his talent of DJing and playing the drums at the same time (who said men can’t multi-task?) MckNasty revs the crowd up good and proper before the man they’ve all come to see makes his long awaited entrance.
Hoodie kicks things off with ‘Fame Is For Assholes’, first single from latest mix tape Crew Cuts which sets the mood for the party that this show becomes. The intimate setting makes for a very personal feel – genuine interaction between Hoodie and his audience. When someone shouts ‘do Make It Home!’, a song not on tonight’s setlist, Hoodie gathers his band and plays the song impromptu at his fan’s request. It’s these kinds of touches that set Hoodie Allen apart from so many hip hop artists these days. And the show’s only just begun. What follows over the next hour and half is a blur of some of his best loved hits, mash-ups including Taylor Swift’s ‘Trouble’ and Ed Sheeran’s ‘A-Team’, dance offs, taking the piss out of his long suffering drummer and even circle pits. And despite the sweat dripping from the ceiling (Manchester Academy is not exactly the best ventilated venue in the world) the crowd continue to feed off the energy that Hoodie puts in to his live show. Returning after a short break for an encore of his biggest hit ‘No Interruption’ Hoodie leaves behind an exhausted, sweaty, but ultimately exhilarated crowd. A sincere, stonker of a show from one of the hardest working unsigned artists of recent years.