Angel Haze at Glastonbury Festival 2014 review

"An inspiring and exciting performance"

Photographer: John Paul BrownChris Eustace on 28 June 2014

“What the fuck is up, Glastonbury?!” – you just know from the very start of the set that Angel Haze is going to be one of the show-stealers of this year’s festival. She runs straight down to the lowest level of the stage as ‘Echelon’ starts up,  and it’s not long until she’s at the crowd barriers as glitchy, trap-style rhythms snap their way down from the Pyramid Stage to provide her with the soundtrack to show off why the future of hip-hop belongs to her.

Glastonbury was always going to be a perfect setting for Haze – if you can mention farm machinery in your raps, so much the better, as she promptly does in ‘Werkin’ Girls’ – Michael Eavis is no doubt nodding in appreciation somewhere as she declares: “I'm on top of my green like a motherfucking tractor.”

On, or increasingly off, the stage, she barely stays still for a second, calling out her peers in ‘No Bueno’  (“I switched it up/You just competing with the old me”) and dedicating the rapid-fire rhymes of ‘A Tribe Called Red’ to “the dreamers…the only person who controls your dreams is you, trust me.”

There’s time for a new song ‘I Own It’, a collaboration with Nacey, a percussion-heavy electro (almost, whisper it, EDM) track that ends with Haze declaring “I just wanna be wild and young” to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Yes, really.

Then things really switch up: having declared herself far above the rest of rap’s contenders, it’s time for her vulnerable side: “I’m in love…but I fucked up, so I flew them here from America to sing this to them” she announces before a soulful, beautifully sung  acoustic take on John Newman’s ‘Love Me Again’.

If that was a surprise, it’s not the end of them it seems: “If it’s ok with you guys, I’d like to spend the last two songs in the crowd with you” she says, and a compulsive set ends in the most celebratory way possible – this time she doesn’t stop at the barriers, and as the video screen shows cameras darting about trying to find her, a delighted audience get their own up close and personal festival set.

The “money can’t buy all the love that’s here tonight” refrain of ‘Battle Cry’ has rarely seemed more apt, and the selfies and sing-alongs continue into a scorching version of ‘New York’ to finish things up. It’s an inspiring and exciting performance, and as she clambers back up and departs into the wings to huge cheers, it appears that it’s not just NYC under her control - Angel Haze runs the Pyramid Stage too.

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