Last night the AO arena found itself deep inside the West Coast, as Ice Cube, Cypress Hill and D12 gave Manchester the ‘High Rollers Tour experience’. The 90s and Noughties at its finest.
2000s rap heavyweights D12 opened the show for a Manchester crowd that began filling the AO Arena from the moment the doors opened.
The Detroit legends paid homage to their heyday years with Eminem performing tracks like ‘Lose Yourself’ and ‘Purple Pills’ to get the crowd rolling back the years.
Serving as a brilliant support act for headliners, they did plenty more than just warm up the once-freezing fans on a frosty night in Manchester and before we knew it, Cypress Hill stepped up to set the arena alight.
Sen Dog, B-Real, DJ Lord and Eric ‘Bobo’ Correa demonstrated exactly how and why they have stayed in the game for more than 32 years now.
Lord commanded the turntables with a level of skill that’s becoming more of a rarity these days, intertwining with Bobo’s unfathomably fast and rhythmic percussion, all whilst B-Real and Sen Dog worked a lively crowd to tracks like ”Dr Greenthumb’, ‘Rock Superstar’ and ‘Hits from the Bong’.
However, the real reminder of just how crazy their sets can be at times came when they dropped the iconic ‘Insane In The Brain’. Old-school lyricism, marijuana-filled graphics on the big screen and a crowd clearly breathing just as much of the ‘atmosphere’ as B-Real himself, is was like Cali had been transported to Manny.
And then Ice Cube arrived. Chills, pun intended.
Proving to everyone in the building that he’s still got it and then some, his arrival at the Arena was his first return to the UK since 2011, and oh how he’s been missed.
Cube owned the stage; no dancers, no gimmicks — just himself and long-time partner in crime WC giving everyone a legendary recap of a legendary career all the way back to the 80s.
From ‘Natural Born Killaz’ to ‘Why We Thugs’ and, of course, ‘Straight Outta Compton’, the duo showed precisely what an OG can really do. It felt like an honour to watch the N.W.A legend Crip-walking across the stage as a reel of film clips played behind him. The crowd were starstruck and rightly so.
One of the greatest MCs to ever do it even blessed us with arguably one of the greatest diss tracks of all time, ‘No Vaseline’, in which he kills off four rappers and a DJ — and makes sure nobody forgets. Mint.
As he asks the crowd if they want one more, he’s met with an inevitable roar of cheers and applause four times over and then, as he’s done a thousand times before, he signed off by letting everyone know that ‘It Was a Good Day’. Perfection.
It was a truly special performance for those inside the AO on Thursday night and one which we can guarantee no one will be forgetting any time soon. Still going 35 years strong, that was all about Ice Cube making a point of reminding everyone why he’s still one of the best in the game.
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher get local musician up on stage for a surprise performance
Football legends Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher helped host the Music Feeds Live charity gig on Tuesday night, welcoming several Northern acts onto the stage, but the crowd were in for an extra treat when a musician amongst them got up on the stage for a surprise song.
The ex-pros turned pundits joined Radio 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins to present the series of fundraising performances on behalf of The Trussell Trust, with the likes of Slow Readers Club and Manc rock veterans James delighting the audience, but turns out there was also another local talent in their midst.
Between acts, the two Monday Night Football hosts asked if there was anyone in the crowd who fancies getting up on stage, to which local singer-songwriter Ewan Sim jumped at the chance.
And what tune never fails in a room of Mancunians? ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ by Oasis, that’s what.
Speaking to The Manc after the impromptu performance, Sim — originally from Handforth down the road in Cheshire — explained how he simply couldn’t pass the opportunity up.
“I was in the crowd watching the Music Feeds Live gig for food poverty which Neville and Carragher were presenting and in between acts they asked the audience if anyone wanted to come up on stage and sing a tune, so I put my hand up and they invited me up — completely spur of the moment.”
Explaining his choice of song (as he even needed to), he said the Manchester classic “is a favourite of mine”, adding: “The crowd loved it got a decent applause and loads of people came up to me afterwards. Neville said I was ‘class’ and well done when I’d finished and Carra said on the mic that it was ‘brilliant'”
Simply lovely stuff, not to mention the whole night brought so many beloved music names together to help raise vital funds for The Trussell Trust.
The Clash Magazine and BBC Introducing spotlighted artist said he lived out a dream getting to play to sing on the O2 Apollo stage, summing up the whole experience in three simple words: “It was mega.”
Ewan is also playing a headline show at The Lodge in the one and only Deaf Institute on Saturday, 6 April if you like what you heard and fancy seeing him live for yourself. You can grab tickets HERE.
And if you’re interested in discovering other new up-and-coming artists from around Greater Manchester, you can check out more Manc music we’ve been listening to recently down below.
Featured Images — Supplied/Ewan Sim (via Instagram)
Ja Rule cancels tour with DAYS to go, after being denied entry to UK
Ja Rule has been denied entry to the UK just days before he was supposed to bring his The Sunshine Tour to the country.
The rapper has cancelled the UK leg of the tour just days before it was due to start.
He was supposed to be kicking it off in Cardiff on Friday but has pulled all shows just days before.
Ja Rule has now shared that ‘the UK won’t let him in’ due to his criminal record, The Hoot reports.
He said that he was ‘so devastated’ that he has had to cancel the tour, which he said was almost sold out.
Ja Rule also wrote that he had notified promoters of his criminal record and they’d assured his team it wouldn’t be an issue.
The Mesmerize singer wrote on X today: “I’m so devastated I can’t believe the UK won’t let me in I’ve spent a half million dollars in production of my own money to put this tour together only to be denied entry DAYS before my shows. This is not fair to me or my fans these venues are 85% sold and now I can’t come…
“The UK is one of the few European countries that restricts entry to people with criminal records.
“In general, you will likely be denied entry if you have been convicted of a crime punishable by 23 months or more under British law or served more than 12 months in prison.”
He later continued: “Gonna do something special for my UK fans since I’ll NEVER be able to come across the pond stay tuned…”
Updating fans again, Ja Rule said: “My team made it CLEAR to the promoter that I have a criminal record and can’t get in the country…The PROMOTER swore this wouldn’t be an issue The PROMOTER started selling tickets y’all love to blame the artist lol… GET YOUR REFUNDS!!!”