BREVIEW: J Hus @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 09.11.17

J Hus @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 09.11.17 / Cameron Goodyer - Birmingham Review




Words by  & pics by Cameron Goodyer

Arriving at the O2 Academy and seeing the expected throngs of people congesting the street eager to see J Hus was a pleasant, but unsurprising, Thursday night experience.

Over the past few years, J Hus, the young Londoner, has made a strong impact on the grime scene. His particular style of African influenced pop/grime collaboration has driven his success to a near sell-out Common Sense European tour and this occasion is no exception as the evening was sold out well in advance.

It’s common to expect a familiar format of support-act, support-act, headliner at these sorts of events but the old saying ‘expect the unexpected’ still holds true as the typically interminable waiting was cast aside in favour of a DJ set kicking straight in, energising the crowd and offering a ‘taster session’ for the rest of the evening. A selection of hip-hop, grime and R&B set the mood very nicely as the sound system pushed out hits and classics alike and the crowd began moving.J Hus @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 09.11.17 / Cameron Goodyer - Birmingham Review

With the DJ still in mid-flow, the first official act of the evening took to the stage; a man going by the name DC. DC, sporting a striped orange t-shirt, offered the crowd a friendly welcome before diving into his act; a machine gun spray of lyrics, faster than anyone I have seen before. The crowd seemed on-board with this and impressed with his skill and I found it frankly memerising to behold. As well as speed, DC has good annunciation and the clarity of what he was saying wasn’t lost, something that would have been noticeable in the slower parts of his balanced set.

DC was set to be followed by an act called NSG and at their allotted time, first one man took to the stage, then another. And another. And another, and so on until the stage seemed packed full of bouncing energetic bodies. Too many to keep an eye on all at once by far. Unfamiliar with NSG’s music (I had only heard of them in a VICE/ID article), I found their strong afro-beat sound very fitting to the evening and it was clear to me they were a good support for J Hus’s set.

J Hus @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 09.11.17 / Cameron Goodyer - Birmingham ReviewThe flow of the evening was broken slightly following NSG as the next act, Young T & Bugsey, were unable to attend. Rather than move the timings for the evening, the decision seemed to be made that two men would take the stage and fill the time hyping up the crowd.

Unsure of how long a slot they were set to fill, it certainly felt long and rather than any set songs being played, the DJ seemed to play sections with the two men onstage belting out the odd word here or there. Passable at first, but soon it became clear the momentum of the evening was being lost and I could hear people in the crowd beginning to question when they would stop and the main act of the evening begin. Not something I could blame them for as my own energy, alongside all of the build-up from NSG, slipped away.

Luckily, without further delay or interlude, J Hus took to the stage; exactly what was needed and seemingly that had been noticed by J Hus or his team. His appearance turned the atmosphere back around and the crowd became elated, screaming loudly as smoke flooded the stage and blue and red lights (imitating police lights) flashed.J Hus @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 09.11.17 / Cameron Goodyer - Birmingham Review

One of the key features of this staging shift was the DJ’s booth. For the first part of the evening this had seemed like an overly large dark space now the black cloth covering the area was removed to reveal that J Hus had brought two gleaming private number plate adorned Mercedes Benz cars onto the stage, seemingly working, with headlights streaming through the smoke.

Fittingly, J Hus himself walked out to the strains of the tour and album namesake track ‘Common Sense’, diving straight into his set with his biggest hit of the moment. With the sell-out O2 Academy audience drowned in smoke J Hus’s stage presence was impressive and it felt like he had instantly won over the 3000-odd people and made the night his own. Never was this more clear than, when asking for everyone to hold up the torches on their phones, the venue became bathed in the soft light that only a small lithium battery can provide. J Hus @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 09.11.17 / Cameron Goodyer - Birmingham ReviewJ Hus himself made for an impressive sight, suited as he was in an array of jewellery firing the already strobing lights in even more erratic and interesting ways.

J Hus moved through his set and began to bring out the bigger hits in his arsenal. As ‘Bouff Daddy’ began, he told the crowd to “mash up the place” and mash it up they did, including J Hus’s own hype-man who had returned to the stage and was seemingly having the time of his life. It was fantastic to look around and see everyone on the outside edges of the room moving and counterpoint to the crush closer to the stage, in those areas many people had space to move freely and were really expressing themselves, dancing with great enthusiasm.

J Hus @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 09.11.17 / Cameron Goodyer - Birmingham ReviewThis continued until the instantly recognised introduction to one of J Hus’s earlier hits began; ‘Lean & Bop’. As this reverberated around the room, it became clear that many people knew what to do and they had stopped dancing in their own way, instead following the signature dance to this well-known song, smiling broadly as they did so.

As the evening began to wind down and the end was approaching J Hus announced to mixed reaction that he would be performing a new track that the audience would never have heard before. The mixed reaction of the audience to this was down, I feel, to the fact that while many of them were happy to be part of this new experience, the audience as a whole were keen to be singing along and to have set dances in mind for the tracks, something not offered by a new song.

After this, J Hus hit the audience with two of his biggest tracks to date – ‘Fisherman’, a song that got a much bigger more positive reaction than I had expected, and ‘Did You See’. ‘Did You See’ is the bigger of the two and undoubtedly a track that most people had been waiting for. It was worth the wait. Taking everyone by surprise, mid-song J Hus left the stage and headed into the crowd. Before you could blink, everyone in this main section of the room rushed forward, lyrics on their lips, clamouring for a piece of the main man himself.

And so ended the evening and with the lyrics of ‘Did You See’ resonating in my head I made my way out of the O2 Academy. J Hus’s post crowd-dive question ‘Did you see what I done?’ wouldn’t leave me and the answer is simply; yes. I saw you take a Thursday evening in the O2 Academy in Birmingham and turn it into an event people will talk about until the next one. Until the next one. 

For more on J Hus, visit 

For more from Birmingham O2 Academy, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit 

For full gig listings from SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours, visit

BPREVIEW: J Hus @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 09.11.17

BPREVIEW: J Hus @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 09.11.17

Words by Cameron Goodyer

On Thursday 9th November, J Hus comes to the O2 Academy Birmingham. Doors open at 7pm, with the event billed as sold out at the time of writing – please check with the venue or respectable ticket outlets before purchasing. For direct gig info, including venue details, click here.

J Hus continues his headline tour across the UK with dates at the Manchester Academy (10th Nov), Rock City Nottingham (14th Nov), O2 Academy Brixton – London (15th Nov), Alexandra Palace – London (30th Nov) The LCR – University of East Anglia, Norwich (6th Dec). Click here for full tour details, as presented by SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours.

Thursday 9th November marks the midpoint of the UK leg of J Hus’ European tour, following the release of his latest album ‘Common Sense’ which went straight to No3 on the iTunes chart and flew through the UK albums chart, being hailed as one of the best British Breakthrough albums of the year. This in mind, it’s unsurprising that every UK date, including this one, is sold out.

Booming out of rolled down car windows and out of almost every late night club won’t be the only places you’ll be hearing hits such as ‘Did You See’  & ‘Playing Sport’ as ‘The Fisherman’, as J Hus is more colloquially known, graces the O2 Academy in Birmingham this coming Thursday. J Hus earned this title through his considerable collection of ‘fisherman style hats’, an iconic accessory which became such a key part of his image he even wrote a song about it. And something that we may be able to see first-hand on Thursday 9th November.

J Hus was and is a true pioneer in the sound that, once unique, is now deeply rooted into the ideology of modern day grime. Although once is the key word as since his skyrocket in success many have tried to impersonate his style, his sound, his character. In some ways, you could say it’s been diluted down but for sure it’s becoming more and more noticeable to the point where it’s no longer just his style – it’s the style he shaped.

J Hus is as a born and bred Londoner with strong African essence flowing throughout his music most likely inspired by his, Gambian decent on his mother’s side.

After aspiring to take up rapping, it took the push of two friends (and later managers) to help him out and take the leap into professionalism, coming after the release of a few tracks online. Summer 2015 was the beginning of the boom for J Hus as he released ‘Lean & Bop’, a simple yet catchy song that makes your body want to jive. This one song, streaming six million times (double that now), and getting its own dance, soon became the summer club anthem being blasted everywhere and remixed countless times.

2016 was no slacking point following this success and proving he was no one hit wonder, J Hus released the single ‘Friendly’(receiving a nomination at the MOBO Awards) alongside, ‘Playing Sports’, ‘Liar Liar’ (remix) and ‘Solo One’ – not bad for someone whose career has, in some ways, only just begun.

Alongside an article about him in The Guardian and signing to Epic Records, this year has been full of hits and features for J Hus. Including a collaboration with arguably one of the biggest current UK artists and a godfather to the grime scene, Stormzy.

At present, J Hus’ name is scattered all over the UK charts, not only via his features but his solo single ‘Did You See’ coming in at No9 and  I’m sure the O2 Academy Birmingham crowd will give a very warm welcome to this new star in his highly anticipated headline show.

‘Did You See’ – J Hus

J Hus comes to the O2 Academy Birmingham on 9th November, as part of a UK wide headline tours – for full tour dates and details, visit 

For more on J Hus, visit

For more from Birmingham O2 Academy, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit 

For full gig listings from SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours, visit