On Wednesday 20th November, D-Block Europe took to the stage of Birmingham’s O2 Academy for day 6 of their sold-out PTSD tour. The predominantly teenage crowd were clearly eager to see this South London duo perform, turning up hours in advance to secure their place at the very front. I was sadly not as fortunate, arriving just as the gig began, and thus settling for a spot towards the back of this packed 3k cap venue.
PTSD is the title of D-Block’s most recent album release and, rightly so, they ran through a selection of its hefty 28 tracks. Many devout fans recited the lyrics to even the lesser-known songs and the DJ was able to cut the instrumental out on multiple occasions. Over the duration of their hour-and-a-half performance, D-Block flaunted the impressive volume of work which they have recently produced – Young Adz even announced on his Instagram story that they have “made 9 songs on tour” (this was posted on day 5). This inevitably results in some similar sounding tracks and a few familiar themes but, nonetheless, you have to applaud the grind. The duo were also able to mimic the exact sound of their original recordings due to their heavily auto-tuned mics; although this led to minimal engagement with the audience, auto-tune is now deemed somewhat fashionable thanks to its widespread use by other artists, such as Travis Scott.
D-Block Europe’s performance was multifaceted – they even chose to dim the lights for a spotlighted, sit-down delivery of Outside. Dirtbike LB gave a more modest display, opting to remain fully clothed unlike his topless counterpart. However, like the true rockstars they have become, they both donned large shades for the majority of the gig. Their stage presence was sometimes slightly lacking but the exciting on-screen visuals and lighting which accompanied made up for this.
Whilst Adz informed us of how highly he rates Brum, it’s a shame that other cities appear not to receive the ‘full experience’, which is instead reserved for the London crowd. The stage in London was graced with the presence of Krept & Konan, K-Trap & Chip, who would have ultimately elevated the delivery of Thoughts, The Bag and Whole Summer. In comparison, D-Block Europe were joined in Birmingham by an artist, perhaps going by the name of GU, for a short interlude. He hadn’t quite mastered the technique of lip-syncing and sounded awfully like Adz, but it is admirable that D-Block are helping others to try and break the industry.
As the show came to an end, it was only right to finish on Home P*ssy, one of the more successful tracks from PTSD, and, just like that, it was over. I feel an encore would have been a great way to close an already high energy performance, especially as a few of their older, more iconic tracks had been left off of the setlist (such as Favourite Girl and Trophy). Even so, D-Block Europe’s success and popularity was undeniable as the crowd were left chanting, “DBE”.
Written by Char Stape.