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RAT BOY Gig Review // O2 Forum Kentish Town

RAT BOY causes quite a stir at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London.

Jordan Cardy, aka Rat Boy, has already built a reputation of being one of those artists who make a big mess. Literally and figuratively. With his shows being as raucous and rowdy as his personality he truly lives up to all expectations. And very often that is a huge understatement.

After many sold out shows last spring, the Rat Boy‘s crew embarked on their biggest tour to date, including a stop at the iconic O2 Forum in Camden, London.

What’s more, on this occasion the young singer-songwriter has given local bands the chance to support him on all dates. Brian Nasty and Bad Sounds were the chosen ones to warm up the London crowd.

The show begins long before the Essex local even emerges on stage and let me tell you, the entire production looks great. The idea to recreate the scenes from the music video for the latest single Get Over It makes a very impressive attempt. 

The fire machines are on, big screen and giant cardboard cut-outs of Neptune’s face (a character from the clip) are hanging down from the ceiling, huge cigarette boxes are located all over the stage with a car/drum kit parked in the middle of it (also taken from the video). Oh and of course satire masks are back, worn by a few additional members of the gang, including SCUM (yep, this is another character living in mentioned above video), casually chilling around and not leaving the artist throughout the entire set.

Rat Boy reveals his presence to the sound of massive single Move as he hits the first verse: When you hit the groove that makes your head spin. It doesn’t take long for 2000 voices to join and follow his lead.

Chaotic and loud singalongs start to echo as the band showcase a few new tracks, such as Turn Around and Knock Knock, whilst guitar-driven Sportswear and boisterous Left 4 Dead are certainly fans’ favourites.

Rat Boy‘s recent offering Get Over It makes the biggest impact as the music video is displayed on the screen. Visuals are a great accompaniment to the set whilst punk guitars of 2015’s Sign On shape a vivid reflection on teenage life.

Lyrics It won’t be long before I sign on / Is it right or is it wrong? / I’ve got no money, it’s all gone still ring in everyone’s ears as Rat Boy finishes off with next ones He said “Hand over the money, this ain’t funny / What’s this, are you taking the piss? / Where’s your iPhone 6? I ain’t stealing this shit / Come here, bitch” (Fake ID).

In spite of entering only his twenties, the young artist surely has got an alluring stage presence. The room fully filled with teenage scums who find his lyrics easily relatable. Even if the average age is most likely 15 years old.

The honesty of his lyrics and narrative style of his songs, political awareness as for such a young age and captivating charm of an early Jamie-T, all that find a susceptible ground to evolve on current music scene, especially considering its demographics.

However, this particular show put the main focus more on the stage production rather than the quality of performance itself. The band seemed too distracted at times having had two videographers constantly under their feet or in front of people’s faces.

Having seen Rat Boy at his sold out gig at Electric Brixton back in May set the bar really high. The energy was extraordinary with the crowd being one of the best I had ever seen.

This time round the show proved a lack of strong connection with the audience what resulted in weaker engagement from their side of the stage. The people on each other’s shoulders in the number of five, with one person bravely deciding to crowdsurf and mosh pits being clearly forced. And no stage diving worth to add.

There is a vast talent and immense potential full of startling creativity hidden within the young artist. But perhaps, the important thing that every live performer should keep in mind is that people come down to their shows mainly for the music. Simple as that.

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Photos: Kasia Osowiecka