An intermingling of British and American culture took place Nov. 22 at the Rickshaw Shop over the electronic beats and fast-paced wordplay of British rapper, Dave. Pressed together in the intimate, sold-out venue, the crowd danced languidly to the club hits that played in place of an opener. The energy in the room dipped over the course of an hour and a half, as Dave was scheduled to start at 9 p.m. but didn’t arrive until 10:30 p.m. Nevertheless, the crowd greeted Dave’s arrival with ecstatic excitement, which the rapper would soon demonstrate that he fully deserved.
David Orobosa Omoregie, known as Dave, is a British rapper from Streatham in London, England. He released his first album, Psychodrama, in March 2019, which debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. Known for his smooth rap style and discussion of heavy and light topics alike, Dave came to the Bay to perform a variety of hits from his recent album, past EPs and past singles.
Dave’s arrival was signaled by the eerily warped vocals of his title track, “Psycho.”An interplay of blue lights upon the stage revealed the rapper, dressed in a Nike tracksuit, smiling out at the crowd. Screaming his name, the crowd pressed forward and as Dave began to rap, the crowd followed along in unison. The song bounced between serious, slower moments that discussed experiences of depression and violence to faster-paced, electronic beats that had the crowd bouncing up and down, hands thrown up as they rapped Dave’s lyrics back to him.
Dave interacted closely with the audience throughout the show, and as the floor came right up to the stage, there was a direct dialogue between Dave and his fans, articulated by gestures, eye contact and the lyrics themselves. A group of particularly ecstatic fans, who had pressed themselves up to the front of the stage and clustered towards the center, rapped along to his every word, hands thrown up to the beat.
Taking a break, Dave addressed the crowd, noting that this was his first performance in San Francisco. He then expressed that having such an animated crowd had made him want to extend his set a little longer, especially because they had waited so long. This announcement was met with a roar of approval from the crowd, and Dave continued with his now-lengthened performance.
Halfway through the set, Dave pulled out an electric piano, and sat down to perform his song “Black.” The song was a beautiful, raw retelling of what Dave described as his own experience being Black. Moving between topics of systematic racism to the message that “Black is beautiful, Black is excellent,” Dave connected deeply with the audience members, some of whom rapped along with him, while others listened and processed within themselves.
Transitioning to his faster-paced hits composed of ample South London slang and English cultural references, Dave arrived on “Thiago Silva” and announced that he would choose a fan to rap on stage with him. While Dave rapped out AJ Tracey’s part, who was featured on the track, the DJ watched the crowd to see who rapped along most precisely to the fast-paced word play. Although it was very close, a fan was eventually chosen and he joined Dave onstage, this time to a beat.
Dave began with his part of the particularly fast-paced track, followed by the fan, who didn’t miss a word or a beat. The two carried out a perfect performance that had the crowd jumping against one another, screaming ecstatically.
To close the show, Dave played “Funky Friday,” exhibiting his slick lyricism and rapid-fire rapping one last time. With the promise that he would be back in San Francisco soon, Dave left the stage to the cries of his fans. Elated from both the collective energy of the crowd and the smooth, powerful delivery of Dave, the fans savored the experience a few minutes longer with a wholehearted chanting of “Ohhhh Thiago Siiilllva” in true British football fashion.
Highlights: “Streatham,” “No Words,” “Professor X,” “Funky Friday”
Contact Nathalie Grogan at [email protected].