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  • Writer's picturekaty mairs

show recap: aries welcomed to his home away from home on his first european headline tour

Updated: Feb 15, 2020

Not even a bitterly cold, dreary night in London town could deter hordes of eager fans from welcoming Aries with open arms on his first trip abroad. Despite the drizzling rain, a queue snakes up Parkfield Street an hour before doors at Islington’s intimate, 800-capacity O2 Academy for the hip-hop centric artist’s first and only UK stop of the Welcome Home tour.

With a merch line that touches almost every corner of the venue for his iconic ‘UGLY’ hoodie and an intense anticipation in the air for a show that sold out in less than 20 seconds, demanding a venue upgrade— there is no denying that Aries has already amassed a dedicated, cult-like following. Rising to popularity on Youtube with a series that includes dissections and creative edits of popular hits— the true magic of this enigmatic artist lies within his original, self-produced creations that have garnered him over one million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Warmed by Biskwiq’s contagiously energetic set, the crowd remains ready and waiting for Aries to grace the stage, with chants of his name rippling through the pit. Soon enough, the opening of ‘RACECAR’ blasts its way through the venue speakers and on the drop of the chorus, Aries gallops on stage with the confidence of a seasoned veteran, greeted by every word loudly barked back to him. With each track flowing seamlessly into the next, Biskwiq remains on stage to gee up the crowd through Aries’ impassioned, empathic vocal deliveries— though it’s as if they don’t really need any more geeing up, with hardly a foot left firmly on the ground.

The set slows momentarily for ‘PONY’, a sun-drenched, grunge-reminiscent track from Aries’ debut project, ‘WELCOME HOME’. He then introduces ‘GENIE’ as his personal favourite— and I’m inclined to agree with him— hearing it live brought forth a whole new-found appreciation for the song. Despite his assumption that the crowd may not be familiar with the slightly older track, the singalong tells a very different story.

Between the singalongs and swells of the crowd that makes it feel as though they could burst through the walls at any given moment— there is a vital, significant feeling that hangs on every second of the night. The atmosphere echoes the sense that everyone who was lucky enough to secure a ticket to this sold-out show is witness to something truly special. Aries is ever-proving himself to be one of the most exciting musical prospects on the scene right now— he is, without a doubt, one to watch.

Closing out the initial half of his set, Aries pleases diehard fans with a performance of the highly anticipated, unreleased track, ‘UNDER YOUR SKIN’ followed by resounding fan-favourite, ‘DEADMAN WUNDERLAND’. He departs the stage and after a brief moment of recuperation, returns, this time to centre-stage with his keyboard. He slows it right down for a beautiful rendition of ‘HOME’— a deeply personal song exploring themes of depression and familial relations— which flows seamlessly into his uplifting cover of ‘A Thousand Miles’ by Vanessa Carlton, which goes down a treat with the crowd.

Evidently humbled by the support this side of the Atlantic, he tells the crowd he loves them as he departs the stage. He and Biskwiq return briefly one final time to close out the night with ‘SAYONARA’— which proves itself to be an undeniable, ecstatic set closer— and for the last time, he’s gone, though the momentum of his very first sold-out European show unwavering. This tour— and this night especially— is one that won’t soon be forgotten— both among his fans, his crew and Aries himself.

Katy Mairs is a writer, content creator, and self-confessed Brockhampton enthusiast from Belfast, Northern Ireland. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @und0milk.

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