Bad Boy Chiller Crew at Reading Festival 2021: youth and young mashhood

August 28: the lads from Bradford bring their very Yorkshire brand of bassline to these southern ravers

As Bad Boy Chiller Crew open their joyful set at Reading Festival 2021, a bog roll flies through the packed BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage, followed by countless chucked pints throughout the show. It’s hard to say which is the bigger commodity by Sunday afternoon here, the festival site a scorched tundra strewn with takeaway cartons and feral teenagers who’ve been absolutely having it for several days now.

One thing’s for sure, though: the lads from Bradford are ready to get down and dirty, bringing their very Yorkshire brand of bassline – booming, Tesco basics dance music and cheeky, rapid-fire rhymes – to these southern mash-heads.

DJ-rapper GK and MCs Kane (topless) and Sam (bouncing around in a PE kit and gold chain) lead a series of vintage chants that reflect their ‘90s influences: “Oggy! Oggy! Oggy! Oi! Oi! Oi!” and “The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire!” And the throwbacks continue: the packed audience put their lighters up for the blisteringly buoyant ‘Everybody’s Free’, which appeared on May’s ‘Charva Anthems’ EP, before we’re treated to a very 2021 view when every other camera phone in the tent comes out for the massive ‘450’.

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The latter tune is an anthem for kids who’ve been locked up for 18 months and are now ready to take what’s rightfully theirs: All blacked-out, coming with the mask on / Coming for the lot, coming for the jackpot.” True to the lyric, the trio’s DJ dons a balaclava, while the audience roars in response when instructed: “If you’re here for the first time, somebody screeeaaam!”

Speaking to NME about the Chiller Crew’s ridiculously fun debut album ‘Full Wack No Brakes’ last year, GK marvelled at their burgeoning success: “I’m not bigging my own head up, but we’re probably one of the most talked-about new artists of the moment. We were in The Guardian in January: ‘Top 50 artists to watch out for 2020.’ We thought it were some sort of weird joke. Why would a paper which is nowt to do with around here want to write about us?!”

Credit: Andy Ford

There is no gulf between the group and their audience – almost anyone in the tent could get up onstage and look right at home – which is perhaps why their sense of freedom is so rapturously received. No wonder Bad Boy Chiller Crew opened with an audio clip of a little kid hyping them up: this set was a celebration of youth and young mashhood.

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

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