festivals: dizzee rascal, split festival sunderland, 2014

Whether your music preference is heavy metal, kooky indie or bland commercial pop, Hackney’s own Dizzee Rascal is the guilty pleasure that every individual has, yet nobody actually feels guilty about.  Although the London rapper has been in the game for ten years, the closest Dizzee has ever came to preforming in Sunderland was the 2012 edition of Evolution Festival, held on Newcastle Upon-Tyne’s Quayside. However, for the first time, Dizzee Rasc took to the stage at Sunderland’s Mowbray Park on Saturday August 9th to close the first day of Split Festival.

Playing a blend of older classics (‘Just A Rascal’, ‘Sirens’ and ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’) and throwing some new-ish favourites into the mix (‘I Don’t Need a Reason’ and ‘Something Really Bad’); the rapper and his entourage ploughed through a ten year career-spanning set list; managing to set Mowbray Park on fire with a crazy relentless energy.

His tongue-twisting collaboration track with Chase & Status, ‘Heavy’, and the DJ Fresh song Dizzee features on, ‘Power’, both went down a treat as the Rascal had the Split Festival audience in the palm of his hand.

Charisma oozed from the rapper between songs as he jested about Newcastle and talked of his hometown (Sunderland apparently hate anybody who isn’t from Sunderland, as “London” was met with boos) building up a clear relationship with his fans partying under the stars.

The gigantic crowd-pleasing anthem of 2008 ‘Dance Wiv Me’ was followed by the soundtrack to 2009′s summer ‘Holiday’; sending the audience bouncing into a mass sing-along while simultaneously cloaking them in pure nostalgia, as they reminisced about the ‘good times’ these two monster tracks created.

Met with resounding approval from the crowd Dizzee darted off stage, only to reappear soon after a deafening chorus of “Dizzee, Dizzee, Dizzee” reached his ears. Ending his set on smash-hit ‘Bonkers’; Dizzee Rascal thanked Sunderland for letting him do what he does best: turning a venue, a stage or a festival into party central for the night. The first day of Split Festival seriously couldn’t have ended in a better way.

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