“It’s my first Glastonbury ever”, French-British artist Octavian pronounces to the Glastonbury crowd at the John Peel Stage. Having only released two mixtapes and a handful of singles, he can’t quite believe he’s playing here. The set begins with technical difficulties: his mic and visuals stop working mid-song. Unfazed when he realises the crowd can’t hear him, he goes down to them and gets stuck in, greeting his avid fans as the issue is fixed.
Jumping back on stage, the raspy voiced rapper opens with anthemic party starter ‘King Essie’ before running through crowd favourite ‘Lit’ featuring A$AP Ferg, whom he describes as “a brother.” Citing a break-up as recent as last week, he asks who else is going through one before diving into the pulsating, crunching ‘My Head’. Visuals that are a mixture of an acid trip and hand-drawn illustrations, all featuring his renowned yellow smiley face.
Halfway through his hour-long set, Octavian starts to lose some of his crowd while his loyal fanbase sticks around. Though he doesn’t run out of momentum or energy, the London rapper’s set seems more catered for a late-night intimate setting than an early afternoon. For those unfamiliar with his music, the set could appear disjointed.
“I want the biggest mosh pit I’ve ever seen,” he orders the crowd. “I’ve seen bigger,” he repeats over and over again. Starting the first few bars of his recently released single ‘Bet’, Octavian asks for a reload several times before the crowd is properly rowdy. Chanting along to every word, Octavian tops off the performance by bringing out Michael Phantom for his verse, finishing off an energetic set with aplomb.
Though you would really have to be a fan of the London rapper to enjoy his Glastonbury performance, there’s enough in there to show why he’s such a hotly-tipped artist. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see Octavian perform at the festival in the future with a more refined set, especially once he has more material out.