Review of Angel Haze Gig at Heaven in London
Heaven isn’t the usual place you would find our Ed watching a Hip Hop gig. But as Ed describes, Angel Haze is no ordinary rapper.
Angel Haze is definitely not one from taken from the cookie cutter of commercial rap music. She doesn’t follow the crowd, she doesn’t even follow her management and label. In fact, it is safe to say that Angel Haze probably p@#sed off her label quite a bit following her leak of debut album Dirty Gold before Christmas. Her label bosses were nothing short of infuriated as her chart position was undoubtedly effected with Dirty Gold stumbling in at 196 in the UK album charts.
Now Angel Haze either is a mad fool, with a naive approach to being a professional musician. I don’t think that’s true though. I think Angel Haze knows that she shines as a live performer and the album launch was a bit of a stunt. Either way, I am not sure Dirty Gold would have charted particularly highly, the PR and marketing around its release wasn’t particularly in your face.
So lets go with Angel Haze new exactly what she was doing. Her gig at Heaven, a couple of nights ago, is a real endorsement of her power and attitude as a performer. The Detroit born rapper has story telling at the heart of her music and like the great rappers of the past she has a fiery, battling approach to her music.
As we mentioned in the review of her recent single Battle Cry featuring Sia, Angel Haze isn’t afraid to reveal her innermost thoughts and demons. I get the sense from her music and performance at this gig, chart placings are the last thing on her mind. She is determined and the depth of her voice, which you think could cause tremors, belies her past where she suffered abuse and had to escape a cult.
In a lot of Hip Hop gigs, particularly those by contemporary artists, the rapper some times shrinks back behind the beats provided by the DJ or any live music accompaniment. Angel Haze had no such problems. She commanded the stage and rapped at a speed and tone that blew away the DJ and guitar, which almost made them redundant. For the record that is an endorsement of Angel Haze‘s ability and not a criticism of her stage friends.
Black Dahlia was a perfectly performed emotional track. During the track she outlined the similar troubles that her mother suffered before her. As she was on her knees, you could feel what the track meant to her. This was one of those moments that anybody at the gig is likely to remember, definitely much better live than on the album.
Battle Cry was not only performed at break neck levels it was also a real show. She vanished off stage and appeared on a balcony at the rear of the venue. She entered the centre of the show within touching distance of the electrified crowd. This is a quality track which genuinely underpins the rappers ability.
In a slight distraction from her main set, Angel Haze performed an acoustic version of One Republic‘s massive hit Counting Stars, which she sang to a very grateful female volunteer. While the majority of the crowd seemed less convinced by this diversion, it did demonstrate a variety in her skills.
A couple of other highlights which should some variety in her locker was the performances of Deep Sea Diver and Echelon. The dark synths and well constructed rhymes really showed her ability. If Angel Haze can make peace with herself, control her actions and fall in love with her label, she has a great future ahead of her. If not, then we could be looking at one of the most unfulfilled careers in rap history.