Speech Debelle Live Review 3/10/09

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going to see Speech Debelle.

It could go two ways. The gig on Saturday October 3rd was being held in Academy 2 so it could be that even though she had won the Mercury Music Prize she wasn’t very good. Option 2 The world hasn’t copped on to her immense talent yet. I’m delighted to say it was the latter.

Upon entering the cavernous venue that is Academy 2, the small crowd seems just to be out for a regular Saturday night at a local pub.

Heck I got tickets for the gig two weeks after Speech won the Mercury Prize!


The Infomatics take to the stage, (I used to work in the same music venue as their bass player Graham, many moons ago) and I’m impressed.

This five piece recently won RTE’s Raw Sessions and its not hard to see why. Their brand of funky hiphop is captivating and refreshing. The twin Mcs really work well together, even if one of them cutely leaves his backpack on for the entire set.

Graham gave me a CD, I’ll do a review.

By the time Speech Debelle hits the stage the venue has filled up and the anticipation is building.

Debelle comes onstage to a muted response and begins her set with her debut single ‘The Key’. It’s not long before the rapper has the crowd in the palm of her hand, winning them over with an organic jazzy triphop sound and a wicked sense of humour.

Speech Debelle (bad photo)
Speech Debelle (bad photo)

Debelle tells us tales of the man who drank a pint of Guinness the whole way down leaving the head intact ‘Magic innit?’ She happily asks someone to mind her stage ‘please lady’ before posing for photographs for this person. She also mentions that she won the Mercury Music Prize and that the NME guys don’t like it. She hastens to add ‘her boys don’t wear no skinny jeans’.

Her trio backing band, double bass, acoustic guitar and drums, is all she needs. The organic funkyjazz base sit beautifully with her vocal rhymes.

Afterwards she quite happily posed for photos.. I wanted to chat but crutches are still a bit dehabilating. Wonder if she’ll come on DCUFM?

The gig leaves me with a couple of questions. Has the music industry killed itself? Speech Debelle is currently playing every nook and cranny to ‘make it’. But according to anyone who was at The Academy, she already has!