ASAP Rocky at The Academy – Review
Friday brought one of hip-hop’s most recent success stories to Dublin as A$AP Rocky played The Academy in collaboration with Heineken. Amidst claps of thunder and hype-man commands, Rocky swaggers on stage obscenely late for a short but sharp set, which felt more like the after-party than headline act.
He raced through a set of mixtape cuts and singles; enough to keep the most casual of free-ticket holders happy. Maybe it was down to the free drink on the way in, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind his lateness much and were well able to rap along to singles like “Peso” and “F*ckin Problems”. It was A$AP Rocky’s first Irish show and maybe he was surprised by just how much we love to curse.
The set had it’s own f*ckin problems; the hype man lacked any charisma, the DJ was on loan from a Confirmation in Tallaght and there was ample use of pre-recorded vocals, but Rocky still managed to prove himself as a real showman and party-starter. Unlike contemporaries such as Kendrick Lamar, Rocky doesn’t have much to say. The tracks are about drugs, sex, parties and clothes. In that respect, he really was the perfect choice to headline a free gig for a beer company. Dublin was here to party and get wasted tonight. And that we did.
On record, Rocky is strongest on his hazy drugged-out midtempos, but these never seemed to lag in his lightning-fast set. Living up to its name, the Skrillex collaboration “Wild for the Night” had The Academy going crazy. Breaking from the set Rocky announced, “they told me that y’all were the n*ggas of Europe!” This was met with the most cringe-worthy round of cheers that I have ever personally experienced and (of course) a round of “Olé Olé Olé”. Rocky laughed and agreed, “well I just want to say thank you for living up to that reputation!” before diving in to the crowd.
It was fast and fun and A$AP Rocky easily got Dublin going wild for the night. Or at least for 45 minutes.
Review by Damien Ryan