Ocean Wisdom – Concorde 2, Brighton – 1st May 2018

Photo by Jamie MacMillan

In front of family, friends and a fanbase that sold out Concorde 2 in a heartbeat, Ocean Wisdom races on to the stage with the same breathless energy and speed that he has become famous for. Someone who is now regarded as one of the fastest rappers in the world (his title recently taken by Harry Shotta), the pace with which he attacks the set tonight comes as no surprise. Aptly starting the Wizville tour in his home town of Brighton (surprisingly his first ever headline show here), he showed that he is far more than a one-trick pony and put on a consummate evening of hometown truths, epic beats and, most of all, great fun.

Pace is the key word all night. The crowd are suitably warmed up first by Derby rapper, Eyez, who gives a seriously high-octane performance. Spinning from side to side of the stage, Eyez makes sure the temperature of the room is at boiling point before Footsie of Newham Generals fame takes over for a short MC set. There is not one millisecond wasted by either of them, as they continue to raise the roof in preparation for the main man. It’s a masterclass in getting the crowd right where they are needed and, as Footsie disappears, Ocean Wisdom arrives to a huge roar from the room.

You would have to go some to beat ‘Don’ as an opening track. With the Afro-tinged beats booming, Wisdom skipping around almost as fast as his rhymes, there isn’t a soul in the room that isn’t bouncing. As he hits his first turbo-charged rap partway through ‘Don’, the noise from the crowd is deafening. It is mind-blowing to watch and hear the man do these lyrics at this pace, every word spat with clarity and precision. Anyone not losing their mind by now is merely standing open-mouthed in awe as ‘Brick Or Bat’ quickly follows. It is with the mention of his family being in the crowd for the first time, that it becomes apparent just how buzzed Wisdom is by the scale of tonight’s show, and it is equally clear just how reciprocal the love is from the crowd.

Just as on Wizville, there is a perfect control of pace and timing – not just within the raps, but within the overall feel of the night. ‘Tom & Jerry’ brings a more mellow vibe, while ‘Burning A Bridge’ contains a ‘long-night-of-the-soul’ 2am feel to it. Stalking the stage, Wisdom describes these points as moments to conserve your energy to, ready for the next bursts of energy – which are never far away of course. ‘I Ain’t Eaten’ is raw and savage, while ‘Revvin’ provokes wild scenes from the audience with every set of hands in the air. It’s impressive how the absence of the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Method Man and Roots Manuva is barely noticeable, showing their spots up for what they really were – guest roles in support of a wonderfully charismatic rapper.

Dedicating ‘Tiptronic’ to the under-21s in the audience, the finale to the show is both crowd-pleasing and an affirmation of where he has come from. ‘Officer’, the Brighton version of ‘Fuck Tha Police’, is followed by ‘Western Road’ and ‘High Street’, all strong reminders that this city isn’t just about shiny new restaurants and trips up the i360. Finishing off where it all began for him with ‘Walkin’, the track that originally thrust him into the limelight, a superb show came to an end. It felt like a coronation tonight, one that confirmed Ocean Wisdom as a rapper of rare talent and one that is realising his potential. Exciting times.

Jamie MacMillan

Website – oceanwisdom.co.uk
Facebook – facebook.com/oceanspitzwisdom
Twitter – twitter.com/ocean_wisdom