It was by chance I discovered one of my favourite artists Angel Haze was playing the Academy in Dublin.
There was very little publicity about the tour (and later I found out why) and I only realised when it popped up on Spotify.
I was so keen to go that I used my emergency credit card (well this was an emergency!)
Angel Haze burst onto the hip-hop scene with the debut album Dirty Gold.
The rapper, who identifies as agender and uses the pronoun they/them, has since split from her label and released her new mixtape Back to the Woods.
I only began listening to this a few days before the gig as I knew these songs would be featuring. I loved Dirty Gold which is a deeply personal album. At the time I was listening to it I was having some personal problems.
I can honestly say this album really helped me, music is the best form of therapy. When I was feeling bad I would either go for a run listening to it or listen to it at night when I couldn’t sleep.
Back to the Woods is quite different but very easy to listen to. Even though I’d only listened to it a couple of times I knew most of the songs before the gig.
Following the acrimonious split from Island Records, Haze said they “hate” some of the Dirty Gold songs so I guessed they wouldn’t be featuring in the show!
(Plus they favourited my tweet saying I was listening to Back to the Woods..almost died!)
The intimate surrounds of the Academy’s Green room played host to Haze and her support acts Californian rapper Devmo and Cork indie act Talos.
Devmo was the ideal warm-up act and it was great to see a female rap artist as support.
Her cheeky personality really comes across well on stage. I particularly enjoyed her rendition of “Take me to Church.”
Talos seemed very subdued compared to Devmo’s energy yet singer Eoin French’s falsetto vocal is incredible.
Tk Kayembe who produced Back to the Woods took to the stage as DJ and hypeman around 9pm as Angel Haze almost sneaked on stage, all dressed in black.
“The more energy you give to me, the more I’ll give to you!” she announced to the crowd. As I’d speculated, the set was dominated by Back to the Woods songs.
“Moonrise Kingdom” is one of my favourite songs from BTTW.
For “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Detox” Haze selected two girls from the crowd to dance and flirt with on stage and also hopped down into the crowd at one point.
“The Woods” was a visceral powerful performance which details Haze’s was abused by a brother and how their mother turned a blind eye to it.
This song shows off both Haze’s singing ability and rapping. “Impossible” and “The Eulogy” were also impressive performances.
Haze’s most famous song “Battlecry” was the only “Dirty Gold” tune that they performed to the rapturous crowd.
“Would I be a dick if I didn’t play Battlecry?!” Haze asked the audience. The answer was a resounding yes!
“Werkin Girls” also produced by Kayembe had the entire crowd rapping along.
Haze then thanked the crowd saying a lot of people doubted their ability to undertake the tour and told the fans they were here because of them.
Haze is playing 40 cities across Europe without the support of a label hence the lack of publicity.
In fact, when I read the Academy’s listings in the paper, the gig didn’t even appear which is a travesty!
Haze signed CDs after the gig but I was too broke to buy one! From what I saw on social media, lots of lucky people got take a photo with them. Haze seems really appreciative and very gracious.
The gig was really reasonably priced with tickets only €20 including booking fee. Money well spent in my opinion. 🙂
Hope you all enjoyed this post, let me know if you were at the gig or if you’re an Angel Haze fan.
I have lots of exciting posts coming up, my next one will be one the sneaker trend.
Thanks for reading as always, if you’re having any difficulty leaving a comment, just click the grey speech bubble in the bottom right-hand corner.
August 17th 2013. After a cancelled gig 8 years ago (it was meant to be my first big concert…there were tears!) I finally got to see Eminem play Slane.
My friend and I bought our tickets back in January with our Christmas wages, thinking he was going to sell out fast..which it didn’t!
I’m a huge Eminem fan and have been since he was singing with Dido and wielding a chainsaw. I remember asking my older brother to buy me the Eminem show CD as it had a parental advisory sticker!
This album was my first real Eminem experience and my God I loved it! The Eminem show is quite a dark album but I loved it. However Eminem is a lot older now and his style of music has changed so I wondered what he’d be like onstage.
I decided on a colourful hippyish outfit for the day. I wore a vintage black and white crochet top I found at home (it had a black lining inside but I cut away the lining and wore it over a white vest), a long denim shirt which I barely wore because we were sweltering in the crowd, denim cut-offs that I borrowed from my housemate, pink and black pattern tights, brown boots, a denim rucksack, turquoise and gold jewellery and a flower in my hair!
My boots, shirt, necklace and flower hair clip are all from Stradivarius, my rucksack and white vest top is from Penneys, my crochet top is vintage and my bracelets and cross earrings are from Forever 21.
After an interesting bus ride to Slane (some people asleep, people jumping off for bathroom breaks along the motorway etc.) we had quite a walk up to the site and had three searches which was a bit unnecessary in my opinion.
The organisers seemed to be of the opinion that it was going to be a “rough crowd” and that a lot of security was needed. There seems to be a consensus that if you like rap music you must be thick/rough/a tasteless chav.
Eminem is one of the more intelligent acts around and although he’s an acquired taste, I love his music.
We hadn’t left early and with our walk we got inside just in time for support act Earlwolf. All the support acts (with the exception of Plan B) Slaughterhouse, Yelawolf and Earlwolf are signed to Shady Records.
At first I was disappointed with the lineup as I expected bigger names but I enjoyed the Earlwolf performance. I am glad we didn’t go earlier however because we wouldn’t have been able to hold the place we had in the crowd for that long. Apparently the earlier support acts struggled to get the crowd going which can’t have been fun for them.
When we got in the sheer size of the crowd was breathtaking. We had heard that the concert was not sold out but I believe it sold out in the last few days as the crowd was estimated to be around 84,000.
Before Earlwolf came on, we gradually moved down close to the stage until we couldn’t move any further. We were just outside the pit and could see pretty well, however we were packed like sardines!
We hadn’t expected to get as close as we did get, we could see the stage easily. It did mean we couldn’t go anywhere for the next two hours, not back, not forward, not sideways! At some points I couldn’t even put my hands in pockets and I cursed having a rucksack as people around me moved my rucksack got pulled with them!
It was also incredibly hot with all those people and I’m glad I wore shorts and a light top and had a raincoat and a few layers with me!
Earlwolf consist of Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the Creator, Jasper and Taco. I don’t know if Jasper and Taco have more illustrious surnames. They were funny and high-spirited and it put the crowd in a good mood.
After Earl and co. it was time for Plan B! I was extremely excited for Plan B, ever since I heard Lost my way, he’s been one of my favourite artists. Plan B was awesome but he did get booed at the end by impatient fans which he really didn’t deserve. Ill Manors, Prayin’ and Lost my way were all amazing.
He’s genuinely multi-talented as a songwriter, rapper and singer. I think he got a little frustrated as he started taunting the crowd saying ” Ireland you’re the tamest crowd ever!” and insulting the crowd’s reaction. He later explained his tirade in an interview with NME saying he was irritated by the lack of reaction from a tired crowd.
Lost My Way used to be my favourite Plan B song but I think Ill Manors was the highlight of his Slane performance.
After Plan B left the stage there was a LOT of jostling and shoving as people tried to get into the best viewing position possible. It got quite scary but I was determined to see Eminem as close as possible! It literally felt like ages waiting for him to come and the crowd were getting antsy.
Finally he made his entrance from behind a white curtain and the whole place erupted! It was really crazy and hard to see the stage so I watched most of it on the screens. It was a bit lacklustre at first as Eminem’s hype man was doing all the talking to the crowd and the opening tracks were newer material so not everyone knew the lyrics.
He opened the show with new track “Survival” and followed with “Won’t Back Down”, “3 a.m”, “Square Dance” and “Business”. He then launched into “Kill You” and the crowd began to respond more vigorously at this point.
As Eminem introduced some of his older songs “White America” and “Mosh”, the crowd became more excited. For me, hearing songs from The Eminem Show was really nostalgic, as I’m sure it was for many of the mid-twenties age group who have been Eminem fans for ten years or more.
Eminem has made several collaborations in the past few years and it was inevitable they would crop up on the set list. The first of these was “No Love” which was recorded with Lil Wayne for the 2010 “Recovery” album. The less said about Lil Wayne, his squawky voice, ill-judged tattoos and general overexposure…the better!
But I do love Eminem’s rap on this track as he has been more restrained in recent years but he sounds angry and raw in this song. He followed with “Just don’t give a Fuck” and “Criminal” and then the anthemic “Cleaning out my Closet”. Again “Cleaning out my Closet” is more emotional than his newer work and elicits more a of a response. “The Way I am” was another song I hadn’t heard for a long time and I really enjoyed the rebellious chorus being chanted all over Slane.
Then after “Fast Lane”, he relaunched into the collaborations again with “Lighters” and “Airplanes pt. 2”. I like both of these songs and they demonstrate how much Eminem has evolved and changed as an artist. However I enjoyed “Stan”, “Sing for the Moment” and “Like Toy Soldiers” more.
He only sang parts of some tracks which was irritating at times and felt like the show was being rushed. His rapping sounded very good (almost too good because questions were raised over whether he was lip-syncing at certain points) but I believe he is talented enough to rap live and I could hear slight nuances in his voice at times.
He continued with “Forever”, “Till I Collapse” and “Cinderella Man” which sounded amazing live. He finally decided to interact with the crowd when introducing “Love the Way you Lie” saying “I haven’t talked to the ladies all night”….then asked “How many women in this crowd have ever been in a relationship like this?” and launched into “Love the Way you Lie”. *puts hand up*
It was the perfect track to dedicate to his female fans (unlike some of his songs which are somewhat misogynistic) and this video captures the moment.
The best part of the whole show was undoubtedly the last few songs. Eminem announced “Now I don’t take drugs anymore but can I take you back to the days of my drug-taking?” as a prelude to “My Name is” and “The Real Slim Shady”. These two songs electrified the entire crowd as they caught a glimpse of the homicidal wacky alter ego Slim Shady gleefully chanting “And Dr Dre said..Nothing you idiots Dr. Dre’s dead! He’s locked in my basement!”
“Without Me” and “Not Afraid” were also fantastic performances and more than made up for the slow start to the show. Then after disappearing for a quick outfit change, Eminem came back with his hood down and we could finally see his face properly. His hair is now dark and very short, it’s a far cry from the bleach blonde Slim Shady but he still looks good! Then the famous piano intro for “Lose Yourself” began and he closed the show in style. “Lose Yourself” is another of my favourites and the perfect choice for an encore.
I’m thrilled I finally got to see Eminem live and yes it was worth €80! It’s a lot of money but Eminem is head and shoulders above most contemporary rap artists. He has definitely changed and matured but it’s obvious the fans still love him. I’m looking forward to hearing his new album and seeing where he goes from here. If any of you were at Slane this year or have seen Eminem play, leave me a comment!