The Kid LAROI at Reading Festival 2021: a tyke fooling around in his playpen

August 28: the Aussie star frolics around the Main Stage, sounding as carefree as the other teenagers around him

The Kid LAROI is a teen who found fame communicating his feelings within music, and just so happened to make big bank off of it. Full of relatable teenage angst, his sound seems to be influenced whatever trends are evolving around him in the rap scene, but through it all, his signature lilted vocal – perhaps based on that of Kurt Cobain – makes The Kid who he is.

Instead of the fans singing his music to him, LAROI’s performance feels like a big campfire sing-along while we mildly bake under the August sun. From the start of the performance, LAROI is energetic; running up and down the stage in his oversized, ripped jumper and white cargo jeans. With the sun out, and the kids ready to rock, The Kid LAROI has everyone doing cheesy dance moves like the pandemic never happened.

This, though, gives way to a beautiful tribute to the late Juice WRLD, as the 18-year-old performs their song ‘Go’. He starts off by making the crowd chant “Long live Juice” in the rapper’s memory, a reminder that LAROI lost a mentor, an idol, and a friend. After what could only be described as a heartfelt moment, he gets super boisterous, even bringing out west London driller Central Cee in order to “pay respect” to the scene and music “he loves back in his hometown”, before reeling songs off of his debut mixtape ‘FCK LOVE’.

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LAROI gets super cocky, expressing his wish to dive into the crowd – even though a security guard has clearly shaken his head, “No”. He assures the guards he won’t go in, and then the Kid tumbles back onto the crowd and surfs away, before being yanked back  by the numerous guards around him. “Whoops! I didn’t mean to do that” he responds cutely. Although he can make songs with great emotional range, he is rebellious yet adorable, just like a child.

Credit: Emma Viola Lilja

He closes with two viral hits, for which he has TikTok. There’s the “Number one song in the world”, ‘Stay’, which on record features Justin Bieber. When LAROI performs it solo, the track certainly clicks. Both and Bieber are understated pop chameleons, and have been making catchy tunes that will be punctuation marks in our lives. But until then, The Kid LAROI’s songs are a great mood-booster to top up our energy before Saturday’s headliners.

Check back at NME all weekend for more reviews, news, interviews, photos and more from Reading & Leeds 2021

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