Review: Andy Mineo @ O2 Academy, Islington

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They say you only get one opportunity to make a good first impression. Boy did Andy Mineo make his count.

He exploded onto the stage with Desperados and didn’t let up. It felt like the set list was compiled by Andy’s DJ, not Andy himself. It was almost like a DJ set the way he tore through an opening medley at breakneck speed. He didn’t do full songs, he didn’t let the crowd settle down and he played hits. Sounds kinda like what a DJ does.

To continue the similarities, Andy Mineo wasn’t satisfied with performing the songs in the way they were originally recorded. There were live re-edits, remixes and quick blasts of feature verses for songs he’s appeared on such as KB’s Not Today Satan.

 To be frank, this was the best live show we’ve been to in a long time.

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Andy Mineo had some fun with a spontaneous freestyle

Hot crowd

What’s the best accompaniment to an Andy Mineo show? An Andy Mineo crowd. Sure, Joshua Luke Smith and Guvna B did a great job of getting the crowd warmed up but this crowd seemed like they woke up that morning ready to party. When you throw in tracks like God Speed, Uno Uno Seis and The Saints, it’s like adding petrol to an already roaring fire.

QUICK HIT: Andy Mineo went into the studio with Guvna B to record a track while he was in the country. We’re looking forward to that release.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Andy Mineo live. He hit the main stage at Big Church Day Out last year. He instantly became one of our favourite acts we saw at the festival. Once again, this year, Andy Mineo features in the pantheon of great live hip hop performers on UK soil.

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The atmosphere was perfect at the O2 Academy for an Andy Mineo show

So what sets him apart? First of all, he has a vast back catalogue of hit songs that people love singing along to. Second of all, a lot of those songs are up tempo turn up records. You wouldn’t want such a collection of jump up songs in quick succession on an album but for a live show, it works well.

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After touring Europe with Andy Mineo, Guvna B enjoyed playing to a home crowd

Unique touches

But of course, there was some contrast. Much of that came from his newest project the Arrow. Considering the subject matter and what he wanted to achieve with that album, it had to be something different to a lot of his previous work. Hearing these songs live helped us realise how different this project was. But it was good different. And necessary.

QUICK HIT: Earlier this year, Andy Mineo’s single You Can’t Stop Me went RIAA certified gold, selling 500,000 copies.

The show in London was part of a European tour. But just because he was hitting venues all over the continent, don’t think he was doing the exact same show. One thing he likes to do is a live freestyle. He asked the audience to pass him items to include in his bars. He was funny, fluent and showed his rapping ability.

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Joshua Luke Smith opened the night with a blend of hip hop and poetry

If he can stage dive every night (like he did more than once in London) he’s got much more energy than us.

The evening finished off with Andy’s biggest track to date, You Can’t Stop Me. The crowd was as rowdy as they were for the opening medley. There’s magic every time Andy Mineo hits the stage. We’re already looking forward to the next time he comes over to the UK.

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