Dizzee Rascal at Ouseburn Garden
However, during his surprise appearance at Ouseburn Garden it was his debut album ‘Boy In Da Corner’ that we were commemorating, which celebrated its 20th anniversary back in July with a reissue featuring unreleased material. Dizzee is also performing three arena shows in celebration of ‘Boy In Da Corner’ - one of which is at Newcastle’s Utilita Arena on October 8th - and so he headed to each city for a free pop up gig to get people excited, the locations of which were announced on his social media mere hours before they kicked off.
Nothing could have prepared me for how many people were spilling out onto the streets of Ouseburn on the evening of this gig. The queue pretty much ran from Ouseburn Garden all the way up to Ernest, and since the Garden is a fairly intimate venue, many people had to watch the gig from the roadside, with people even gathering up on the bridge above. Dizzee made his entrance by pulling up in a van right outside the venue and walking through the crowd - who, of course, went ballistic.
Packing all of his fan favourites into a 45 minute set, including ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’, ‘Dance Wiv Me’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Bonkers’ and ‘Bassline Junkie’, Dizzee commanded the crowd with immense energy and charisma. He was truly on top-form, with his live renditions somehow beating the recorded versions we know and love by a mile. The atmosphere of the night was electric - everyone just seemed to be having a great time, and if the aim of the gig was to hype us up for the upcoming arena show, the mission was accomplished and then some. The gig showed me exactly how he is still managing to pack out venues 20 years after establishing himself as a legendary pioneer of Grime music.