30th October 2017

Live: The ‘Honey G’ Show

Elizabeth Gibson reviews the controversial X Factor rapper’s first ever headline gig

Manchester Academy 3

The 10th of October 2017

Before attending Honey G’s first ever headline show, I was curious about the demographic it would attract. During her time on X Factor, many of her fans were children who enjoyed her larger-than-life persona and knack for making rap classics lighter and sillier.

However, Honey has often declared herself to be a true urban artist more interested in creating straight rap than crossover material. I was therefore intrigued as to how she would balance humour for the kids’ entertainment and serious stuff for her own musical fulfilment.

The crowd turned out to be pretty diverse, with a range of ages and, yes, lots of families. We were kept waiting for Honey to arrive due to lengthy technical issues — forgivable, what with this being her first gig, but frustrating nonetheless. At last, the familiar figure bobbed onto the stage in her shiny tracksuit and shades, and plunged into “The Honey G Show”.

The hit did a good job of setting the night’s tone: energetic, rather odd, but undeniably enjoyable. The balance of fun songs and edgier ones felt about right, though there were a few moments that had parents gasping — one sudden vulgar line made even me choke on my drink. Still, fine-tuning her tone is something Honey has time to work on.

As the show progressed it became clear that the technical hitches were going nowhere. We frequently had to wait for backing tracks to kick in, or Honey would demand that a song is started fresh. She also dashed offstage twice for costume changes, progressing from a gold tracksuit to a blue tracksuit to a silver tracksuit. While this was a novelty, it might have been one better left for a future show, considering tonight’s had already suffered such disruption.

Fortunately, Honey G can work a crowd. She had the kids hollering along to her call-and-response, and was able to improvise without hesitation when things didn’t go to plan technically. She has a rare charisma and warmth. The image pushed by many X Factor viewers of some naïve fool with delusions of grandeur has been swiftly erased from my mind and, I imagine, many others’.

Whether or not her character is real, Anna Gilford is clearly a very smart lady who knows exactly what she is doing, and this gig showed she has an audience for it. I’m very curious to see what she will do next.


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