Bucket hats, bum bags, bassline: the golden trifecta of a night spent in the presence of Bad Boy Chiller Crew. As a gaggle of teens slyly swig WKD outside Leeds’s O2 Academy, it’s clear there is just one agenda for the evening: a long overdue mash-up. Buckle in, everybody.
For the Bradford boys, this trio of Leeds dates is the closest they will come to a hometown show on this headline tour. Unsurprisingly, tonight’s show (April 12) is sold out, and it’s telling of the region’s pride it has for GK, Clive and Kane. Cutting their teeth through comedy skits, it’s only in the last couple of years the group have fully made the move into music, utilising the tales of mischief they grew up around in their barmy tunes.
Raised on a healthy diet of bassline – a UK garage-adjacent sound ingrained into Northern culture – their emergence has propelled the genre back into the mainstream. But the crowds at O2 Academy show that bassline never really died out, but that Bad Boy Chiller Crew just provided it with an immensely thrilling shake-up.
The tour follow’s February’s ‘Disrespectful’ mixtape, which paid homage to the classic noughties sounds that soundtracked their childhood and landed at Number Two in the UK album charts. They tap into that nostalgia and local pride once more upon their arrival and, following their outrageously silly ITV2 documentary that aired last year, they bound on stage to the familiar jingle of ITV’s Calendar News, the Yorkshire-specific nightly news-roundup. When they launch into ‘So Much Love’, the reaction is instant – pandemonium follows.
Those comedic beginnings make sense, and they soon prove that there’s never a dull moment with the Crew, or their freewheelin’ fans. Lit by the flash of hundreds of iPhone cameras, it’s gun fingers galore as Clive downs Grey Goose and a kid on their dad’s shoulders uses the heightened view to munch down on a packet of crisps. Laugh-out-loud bars on ‘Footsteps On My Shoes’ and ‘Bikes N Scoobys’ follow, and are complimented with heaps of pyro.
Rounding the night off with a double whammy of hits in the shape of ‘450’ and ‘Don’t Worry About Me’, the feral atmosphere that has just unfolded feels akin to a fever dream. Yes, these shenanigans are really happening, and it’s such bloody fun.