KID Ink brought his Full Speed tour to the stage at Manchester’s O2 Apollo on Tuesday night (October 20), Quays News entertainment reporters Misha Solanki and Jasmine Rigby were there to see it for us…

“I want it to feel like a club in here!”

And that was exactly the atmosphere that was created with the crowd standing tall, with their phones in the air. One of the USA’s best hip-hop exports, Ink certainly left his mark on the Mancunian audience as he took to the stage at Manchester’s O2 Apollo for the eagerly anticipated gig. The Full Speed tour has allowed him to showcase his most recent album – which goes by the same name – to his fans.

With a larger than normal performance bill, the opening acts included artists such as Brit Baby, DJ Hype and Vee The Rula. As they are part of the Alumni Bat Gang (who are also associated with Kid Ink) it made sense that they would set the scene for him. Vee The Rula especially had the crowd hyped up as he jumped off the stage to be immersed in them. The large bill had the crowd more eager than normal for the main act to take to the stage.

Pia Mia – the only female on the bill kick started the night with high tempo music and her dance moves. Her arrival was preceded with the whole audience up on their feet shouting her name in unison. The pressure was on for her to perform after such a vocal build up, and she didn’t fail to deliver with her mix of acoustic covers and chart hits. Her first appearance in the city was strengthened by her interaction with the crowd, complimenting their bandana choices and praising certain fans for their poster-making efforts. Her six-song set began with ‘Wanna F**K With You’ which is one of her original singles. Starting with such a high energy track, her dance moves took over which had a detrimental effect on her vocals. This wasn’t helped with the excessive microphone changes that took place – reasons for which are still unknown.

However, she was able to bring her vocals back on track with the acoustic cover of Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’. Her acoustic tracks allowed the audience to see a different side of her, a softer side that isn’t seen in her biggest hit to date ‘Do It Again’ which unsurprisingly was the song to complete her set. Other highlights included a dance routine to Fatman Scoop’s ‘Be Faithful’ and another original song ‘What A Girl Wants’.

With the crowd hyped up after the array of warm up acts, Kid Ink’s unique arrival surprised everyone with him dressed head to toe in white including a suspicious balaclava. He started off his set list with ‘OG’ which was unusual as the track isn’t actually from the album Full Speed. During ‘Money’ and ‘The Power’ he ended up taking off the balaclava and throwing it to one very lucky fan. Throughout the whole show, the crowd was wowed with the on-stage production themed to fit every song. He took some time out between songs to ensure that he interacted with the audience, making sure that they were enjoying themselves as much as he was.

One fan was having too much fun, as she threw a piece of her underwear onto the stage as he was performing one of his best known songs ‘Body Language’. The hip-hop star took this all in jest, as he hung it from his mic stand and carried on. Going through the set list, the crowd were getting more and more energetic, the whole building felt like it was moving along with the up tempo beats, until the LA born star slowed the pace with ‘Sunset’. The orange and yellow lighting calmed the mood as Kid Ink’s set list was starting to wind down.

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He then treated the crowd to a performance of ‘Boneless’ in which he brought on members of the Alumni Bat Gang. During this song snapback caps had been brought to the stage, with Kid Ink and his supporting artists signing them and throwing them out to the excitable audience. The excitement of the caps got too much for some, as security had to delve in to break up a fight in the standing area. With the performance of ‘Main Chick’, and Kid Ink’s abrupt ending it seemed the show had come to an end, with the DJ playing ‘All Eyes On You’ people had started to leave their seats. It was a shock to the remaining members of the audience when the DJ announced Kid Ink’s encore, as he proceeded to play the iconic track ‘Be Real’.

Once the actual ending of the show had happened, the 29-year-old star stated that he would be hanging around to meet fans and sign any merchandise. The best part of the show was the encore in which he decided to come back and surprise fans with one of his best known songs.

After his Manchester appearance, Kid Ink has definitely made an impression on the city’s hip hop scene and is an artist not to be missed on future visits.

By Misha Solanki and Jasmine Rigby
@misha_zolanski and @jazzariggers

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