don’t think I was ever expecting anything from a Flatbush Zombies gig to be run-of-the-mill
but it was certainly more batshit than I’d mentally prepared myself for on a chilly Monday
29th October saw the rap trio from New York City perform at the O2 Forum Kentish Town for
the last leg of their tour, The Glorious Dead, where they performed music from their latest
album, Vacation in Hell as well as other hits from their pretty meaty discography. It wont
come as a surprise to hear that the crowd was a largely weed-smoking one and it looked a
bit like someone had been on stage firing out Supreme Tees from a t-shirt cannon
beforehand, but if you know FBZ then that’s unlikely to shock you.
Keeping it close to home, the Flatbush Zombies of Brooklyn were supported by two of their
own from the area - Nyck Caution and Kirk Knight - both part of the ProEra independent
collective. First up was Nyck Caution, who performed tune after tune to a crowd who
seemed pretty familiar with his music and on-board with him. I’m not sure what Kirk Knight or
the Flatbush Zombies thought but for a warm up act it was the most high energy shit I have
ever seen. With mosh pits commandeering the bulk of the stalls area and the crowd
bouncing along to every track it’s a genuine surprise anyone had any energy left in them.
When Kirk Knight came on, the energy was much the same, but with more recognition for his
music under his belt it felt like there was a firm appreciation for his lyrical ability and skill.
Performing songs from X Y Z he also went on to tease a few from his upcoming sophomore
album, which, given the accolades and attention he has received from well-respected
rappers is set to be a good one.
Following yet more mosh pits and a couple technical difficulties (which seemed to rather
theme the night), Flatbush Zombies took to the stage. Known for their visuals, it was clear
they were not going to doing anything that undersold the slightly trippy / weird art that goes
along with their music however it shouldn’t be underestimated what it added to the
The trio, hailing from the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, were high energy from the start. Despite
their reputation for and inspiration from trippy / weed-smoking music it couldn’t have been
more opposite. They were brash, unpolished and the ultimate force when they were on stage
together. Playing music from across their vast discography and engaging with the audience
throughout the whole performance they embodied what it means to live up to your fans
expectations if not moreso.
A couple of highlights included Vacation and Chunky all off of their latest album ‘Vacation In
Hell’, with Meechy Darko commandeering the centre of the stage and the mic with his
gravelly, aggressive vocals. It was also cool to see that they all had their moment to shine,
which made them all the more relatable. All three of them went into ‘monologues’ (if you like)
and sung tracks that held very personal weight to them, either around depression, self-love,
motivation, escapism etc. which is the running theme of their music as a trio so it was special
to share in that moment as an audience. How often is it that an artist gets a full theatre-sized
room of people screaming ‘I love myself’ at once?
Perhaps one of the (unfortunate) features was the trios concern with the sound - particularly
Meechy - whilst the audience didn’t seem to notice any sound issues it was clearly causing
issues for Flatbush Zombies and on a couple of occasions the show came to a halt to sort a
problem that (imo) didn’t exist in the first place. Understandably, as an independent group
who have worked incredibly hard to self-fund it makes sense that they want everything to be
perfect, but from an audience standing there were no complaints.
In all, a pretty high calibre display of a performance. Whilst a little rough around the edges, it
was also refreshing to see artists connect with their audience so rawly - niceties aside (Erick
the Architect at one point told a fan to ‘Shut The Fuck Up’). For a rap trio to have maintained
independence and become as successful as they have is more than impressive and makes
the slight hiccups all the more charming as they clearly put blood, sweat and tears into
making it all happen.