Dying In Designer is a long way from home. Tonight (November 12) in London, the Chicago emo rapper (whose real name is Bobby O’Brien) is undertaking his first-ever UK headline show. Beforehand, a DJ set from Scarlxrd’s Jacky P sees My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and Blink-182 cut with Lil Peep and Yungblud, which should tell you everything you need to know about the crowd Dying In Designer attracts.
From the opening bars of the dark ‘Pull It’, Dying In Designer has the front rows of the crowd wrestling with the edge of the stage, clamouring to get as close as possible to the spotlight. They’re clearly impassioned and feeling the moment – it’s just a shame the audience doesn’t stretch much beyond them. As they jostle alongside each other, ‘Stole My Hoody’ twinkles with everyday heartache, pulling from the school of Lil Peep. Later, the clenched fist bounce of ‘Down N Out’ sees Dying In Designer doing his best A Day To Remember impression, all rage-addled hooks and arena-smashing promise.
The room is barely a quarter full, but every person present is as close to the stage as possible, fully invested in the frank honesty Dying In Designer offers. At one point these songs were quiet bedroom confessionals but tonight they’re anthems of resilient change. There’s a power in their straightforward honesty and, face-to-face, the message of facing the darkness and finding a way through is impossible to avoid. From the wide-eyed loneliness of ‘PTSD’, through the acoustic lament of ‘Devil’s Callin”, to the circular echo of ‘Wounds’ – all pop-punk hooks and painful self-awareness – the emo-rapper’s set is a wild ride of vulnerable admission.
“The next time I come back here, it’s going to be a massive room,” Dying in Designer pledges. “You’re living in the future.” Tonight there are genuine sparks of greatness, including the glittering bounce of ‘Promises (Green Eyes)’ and the dark skip of ‘Lately’, and it feels like it could be the very start of something notable. He’s already got the front rows screaming every word like it’s the only thing that matters. Now, he just needs the rest of the room.