A Me B - Manchester Academy 3 - 16.11.10

I’ll start off by saying that I’m a little mosher at heart, so nine times out of ten, anything to do with rap I’ll avoid like the plague. Having said that, I find myself watching A Me B perform a short, sharp set (her last live performance of the year) to a reasonably-sized crowd at Manchester Academy 3. And I do enjoy it. Tonight the seventeen-year-old, real name Amy Burns, is supporting Akala; just one name in an impressive list of artists the young rapper/producer/writer has shared a stage with so far during her short career.

A Me B emerges on stage looking like she absolutely belongs there, and appears to get a genuinely warm reaction from a distinctly mixed crowd (young, old, Adidas trackies to maxi dresses, it’s all going on). She has bags of confidence and engages with the crowd often throughout her set, encouraging more dancing and audience participation, which is a great thing to see from a support act; especially such a young one. A Me B powers through some decent songs during twenty-five minutes or so she has on stage, including ‘Taking Over’, ‘Reach’, and ‘Get Me Out Of This Box’, which is a definite highlight of the night. Burns writes her own music and lyrics and has done so from a very early age, and, coming from someone who was originally a complete cynic, her music is flawless. It’s difficult to pin down, and she cannot be placed neatly into just the one genre (something which, I’m sure, was her intention). A Me B performs an energetic mishmash of heavy electro and d’n’b, with her forays into the latter genre being notably successful. The artist also incorporates some incredibly fitting samples into her music; the inclusion of the opening of ‘Intro’ by The XX in her second song of the set works remarkably well.

As well as rapping, writing and producing, A Me B is actually a good singer; something which we don’t see much of tonight, because she is of course a rapper first and foremost. That said, with songs as strong as ‘Get Me Out Of This Box’, a fantastic mix of heavy drum beats, guitar backing and an incendiary chorus, and A Me B’s closing song, ‘Run and Hide’ (another energetic highlight of the set), I don’t suppose I can really complain. Throughout the set her lyrics are increasingly defiant, expressing a desire to be a free individual without being controlled; a perfect amalgamation of all kinds of teenage angst. I can’t help but think that, given a few more years’ life experience, A Me B’s lyrics will have improved tenfold. Her music is already phenomenal, but if I have just one criticism of the night it’s that occasionally the lyrics can become predictable. But that certainly won’t put me off checking out the free mixtape A Me B is producing next February, or listening out for her in the future, because a lot of people are predicting big things for this girl’s career, and given her wonderfully energetic stage presence and massive songs, I can’t say I blame them.

Ashley West


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