Gig review: Azealia Banks

Her album is still unreleased, but Azealia Banks is already a star. Picture: Greg Macvean

Her album is still unreleased, but Azealia Banks is already a star. Picture: Greg Macvean

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“THANKS for standing by me through all the ups and downs,” Azealia Banks addressed her loyal fans, with the wistful reflection of a music industry veteran. “I’m an independent girl now.”

Azealia Banks

O2 ABC, Glasgow

****

The Harlem rapper with a kamikaze habit of going on the Twitter warpath (at fellow musicians, bloggers, her own record labels, you name it) is in fact only 23 years old and still yet to put out her debut album, despite being hyped since 2011. The forever delayed Broke With Expensive Taste will now be self-released, after Banks’ recent split with Universal.

This show – originally booked for March, then rescheduled, then downgraded to the ABC, which was only half full – could have strengthened the suspicion that Banks has missed her shot. That is, if it hadn’t been so irrefutably exciting.

Ticker-tape was already falling from the ceiling during walloping opener Count Contessa, the first in a slew of bass-heavy ravey bangers full of unquotably sweary lyrics about messy bisexual trysts and miscellaneous badness. She was backed by a DJ, two singers and two high energy dancers, with whom she would occasionally lock casually into sequence, while always wearing the same cockily butter-wouldn’t-melt grin of someone who needs no reassurance that she’s a star.

Chasing Time, penned in response to Universal bosses’ claims that Banks had given them “nothing to play on the radio”, proved she can write a pop gem to order if she wants. The deliriously good 212, her triple-X-rated breakthrough track, proved that trying to get Banks on the radio is to miss the point of this angry nonconformists’ natural appeal entirely.

Seen on 15.09.14

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