Friday, 29 April 2016
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the Barclaycard Arena
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed their penultimate UK gig at the Barclaycard Arena on Tuesday - ahead of their final date at the O2 and returning to the US to continue with the tour.
The stage set was vibrant and rather brilliant, as was the performance from frontman, Macklemore (real name: Ben Haggerty) and producer, Ryan Lewis. Macklemore's interaction with the audience was effortless and during the concert he dished out a plate of cookies and proved himself to be a competent cartoonist. Haggerty also shared anecdotes of time spent in Birmingham and his more subtle side as father to baby daughter, Sloane (who took her first steps during the UK leg of the tour - aww).
With renditions of tracks from first album, The Heist plus lots more from latest release, The Unruly Mess I've made - it all went down well with the enthusiastic audience. It's perhaps difficult to describe Haggerty's mix of rap/ hip-hop - but it all works out rather brilliantly on stage. Macklemore also expresses a social conscience both in his music and in conversation with the audience during the show.
Personal highlights included Brad Pitt's Cousin (crazy lyrics/ bizarre visual backdrops), St Ides (loved the twangy guitar) and the beautiful, Growing Up (Sloane's Song) feat. Ed Sheeran. This showed a more vulnerable side to the rapper - as the song is about his daughter and how it felt to be a father for the first time.
As anticipated, renditions of Thrift Shop, Can't Hold Us and Downtown (the final encore) went down a storm with an appreciative audience. Eric Nally who features on Downtown also happened to be celebrating his birthday and the audience quite rightly, sang Happy Birthday to him. I like to think that the birthday celebrations continued after the concert.
What's unusual about Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is that the duo are independent artists and have the freedom to do as they please when it comes to music. Their audience is more diverse than fans of rap and hip-hop - as music lovers of all genres can appreciate their alternative mix of subtle or catchy songs. I suspect this is what their legions of fans love about them.
The result was a vibrant and eclectic stage show that exceeded all expectations. I was only sad that my daughters weren't there to enjoy it too.
Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton
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