Professor Green review – sinking in session-muso gloop

It took this trouble-prone rapper with poor sound equipment too long to get the party started

From teenage drug dealing to a No 1 record to being robbed outside his house, Professor Green’s life has witnessed more twists than a soap opera. Like the recent critically-panned third album, Growing Up in Public, this tour has been much postponed after an annus horribilis in which the rapper was hit by a car and banned for drink-driving. He begins in melancholy mood with Lullaby, which deals with his father’s suicide. Alas, backing singer Katie Holmes-Smith is more audible than the whiny rapper, and his emotional lyrics are undermined when he breaks and yells, “Put your arms in the air, Newcastle”, and starts grinning like a Butlins redcoat.

A break, marriage and “growing up” clearly haven’t affected his uncanny ability to locate an open manhole and merrily tumble into it. “I almost didn’t make it because some bitch took a bite out of my neck in Glasgow,” he begins, before realising the clanger. “When I say ‘bitch’, I don’t say man or woman. It wasn’t a sexist comment. That’s not how I want to begin this evening.” He heads for more trouble when he asks, “Have you no feelings, Newcastle?” but adds. “Neither ’ave I. So let’s fackin’ ’ave it.”

’Avin’ it is hardly helped by the live sound, a highly processed, partly canned, session-muso gloop over which Green tries to inject personality. His claim to be “rap’s George Best … with a lot more sex” isn’t best served by the ghastly Not Your Man, which unfavourably compares his penis to that of rival rapper Dappy’s.

When all seems lost, early hits Monster and Read All About It finally get the party started. However, the gig is noticeably not sold out, and his parting shot – “I can’t promise not to get nicked again” – suggests that there may be more trouble ahead.

• At Academy, Liverpool, on 1 December. Box office: 0844 477 2000. Then touring.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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