Heaven, 3rd March

Stand first: The ‘Queen’ of grime delivers a confident, energetic performance with humour, honesty and ingenious wit.

“Do I look like garlic bread? Do I look like onion rings?” Lady Leshurr asks the jubilant crowd after talking about scrolling through Instagram and realising she was a ‘side chick’. Met with laughter and nods of understanding, this was just one of the many occasions of Lady Leshurr’s humorous and ingenious way with words throughout her performance. Her claims of being ‘the realist gal’ are very much justified.

Combined with her unfaltering and unapologetic confidence, Lady Leshurr is a near perfect social commentary on a world based on social media comes alive as she connects with the audiences’ common interests. She just seems to ‘get’ them and the way her fans interact. She doesn’t object to the sea of smartphones waving in the air, often taking them out of people’s hands and to video the action.

Lady Leshurr begins her set donned in a regal gown and crown combo as she acknowledges the crowd’s anticipation for her ‘queen speeches’, which brought her widespread attention on social media. Nevertheless she holds of for the first third of the show, kicking off with a loose cover of Sister Nancy’s ‘Bam Bam’.

She stops for a moment to address that just because she is standing on the stage does not mean she is better than those on the floor. Despite her self-assurance and ‘Queen’ written across her and her dancer’s chests, it’s evident that she is taken aback by the amount of support she gained and is genuinely gracious. “I really can’t believe you’re all here for me,” she says in her thick Birmingham accent.

As expected Lady Leshurr begins her ‘Queen Speeches’ and there’s nothing but elation. It’s hard to feel anything but joy as the whole crowd, obviously much bigger than Lady Leshurr was expecting, bounces left and right shouting ”crispy bacon, their lips look like crispy bacon”, as she makes her way through ‘Queen Speech 5’ flawlessly and with an energy so infectious.

Lady Leshurr’s performance is honest from the outset. She raps about her world of Instagram, pop culture and snakey friends (“A couple of snakey friends just Adam and Eved us/ And there’s no debate on who’s better/ I’ll turn him into a girl like Bruce Jenner”), as well as with her own personal woes in the wake of her catapult to fame. As she raps Unleshed 2 (“I tried to take my life in my own flat/ A few months ago I was assaulted for being black”), Lady Leshurr is at her most candid than at any other point in the show.

The whole set is over in just over an hour, but anything longer would probably have been inappropriate given how, and how quickly, her ‘Queen Speeches’ came into the public consciousness. She successfully and seamlessly combines her – and hip hop’s history of – bravado and assertiveness with a down-to-earth manner and her witty, realist freestyle, which is no small feat.

Photos by Anita McAndrew. See full photo gallery here.