FREESTYLE BRISTOL

Strike a Pose

Nearing a decade into the Manchester Hip-Hop/Rap scene and with countless singles and collaborations, Aitch finally released Close To Home – his debut album and brought his live show to Bristol

Words & Photos: Mitchell Williams

All images: Mitchell Williams, @mitchellvisuals

Arriving at Marble Factory (also known as Motion), fans were gathering in the huge plaza anxious to get stuck into the music. Walking through the entrance, I was greeted by the sounds of screaming fans reacting to Aitch starting his performance.

The heat of this place hits you back and being a summer show, you couldn’t withstand the packed crowd without shedding some layers. Plenty of water was being passed to punters by staff to keep everyone safe and hydrated.

We experienced back-to-back hits, with little to no talking breaks between songs as Aitch rode through his 2 hour set with incredible stamina. Mixed together were songs from the new album Close To Home, as well as all of the classics you’d expect, such as Rain, Taste (Make It Shake), Learning Curve and even some remixes. Even his DJ couldn’t resist jumping on the mic to share and hype the atmosphere. No comment on the Man-United fan chants though!

Phones lit up and emotions ran high, as the entire venue sang along to My G – a track about the rapper’s loving relationship with his younger sibling. Placed up close near the photopit was a superfan, whose family were so pleased to see Aitch watching over and smiling brightly to their enjoyment.

Aitch closed the show with his recent hit Baby. I’ve never seen the faces of a crowd light up, when presented with one last sing-song after 2 sweaty hours of bars and heat. Hands were waving and bodies were shaking from front-to-back – all whilst the rapper gleamed, looking blissful at what they had built up until this point.

Leaving the show, most fans had their albums in-hand, excited but content with such a great performance from Aitch. Quickly however, they noticed that the tour bus was parked near one of the outdoor stages of the venue. 

Hundreds gathered by the gate, screaming ‘Harrison!’ (the performer’s name) until a smirking Aitch greeted his megafans, shaking hands and signing albums through the gaps of the fence. I was lucky enough to watch this unfold from the perspective of the performer, and from my experience, there must not be a feeling like it for them.

This encounter really encompassed the excitement and exhilaration Aitch brought to Bristol tonight. It’s impossible to deny the cultural impact he has created amongst the younger generation.