On the gloomy Monday night that slowthai, Northampton born Tyron Frampton, descended upon Glasgow, the arches which stand over SWG3 looked onto bustling crowds of fans, as they smoked and chatted and chanted ‘f*ck Boris’. His performance was perpetually wound up and politically charged, never ceasing for one second to emulate the chaotic sentiment which saw him wield a decapitated Boris Johnson head before the audience of the Mercury Prize ceremony earlier this year.
One of Northampton’s most infamous exports launched into his set with ‘Nothing Great About Britain’, the titular track from his acclaimed 2019 album. From the outset, the energy within the room struggled to be contained, sweat seemed to pour out of the walls as the crowd moved erratically around the room. Mirrors lined the back wall of the stage, “so you can see how good I look from the back” laughs a shirtless slowthai, as merely moments ago he threw his Irn Bru t-shirt into the crowd – a fitting tribute to Scotland’s holy water. In reality, the mirrors are there for the crowd to admire themselves in the same way we looked onto him with awe. As he launches into September’s latest single, ‘Psycho’, a collaboration with American rapper Denzel Curry, the madness reached a climactic point. Smoke pours out the stage as slowthai frantically jumps around to the eerie pangs of one of this year’s most ambitious collaborations.
As belongings of every description are thrown like religious offerings at his feet, he waves a bra in the air, before settling it on his head as he continues his set. Those at the front of the crowd are constantly soaked by a water gun-wielding Donnie-Darko-esque character, Woioii the Crack Rabbit as he is referred. This jester-like mascot’s role seems to be to energise a crowd which had by this point already descended into mayhem. Frampton appeals to his crowd, searching for someone to join him for ‘Inglorious’, to fill in for the absent Skepta. Victorious, he pulls a startled looking Phoebe onto stage with him, the pair of them delivering the track fluently. Frampton’s live performance oozes chaos, but there is undeniably an air of tact about him, from the way in which he marketed tickets for his tour at £5, to his near expert ability to rile up his audience.
As the unmistakable opening to ‘Doorman’, the final song of the night begins, Frampton is unsatisfied by the madness which is ensuing before him. “Run in a circle until your feet fall off!” he barks at the jostling myriad of fans, as they all eagerly await one of his best tracks. People are shoved, shoes lost and friends abandoned as the entire room descends into chaos. Frampton looks on, as he reminds us that his mirror collection stands as a reminder of what is truly great about Britain: its people.
Image: Evening Standard