Little Simz At MTELUS: Bring On The Crown!

by Théo Reinhardt

Monday night was a big date for Montreal fans of Little Simz. It was a long-awaited return to Montreal for the London-based rapper and musician, who hadn’t been in our neck of the woods since her debut. She went on to win the prestigious Mercury Prize and explode into critical and popular success with three recent albums.

So, what’s a Little Simz show like when she’s at the top of her game?

The MTELUS hall fills up fast. And, to everyone’s surprise, the show starts early! At 7:57 pm, then, it’s the slow, measured flow of rapper OTG who opens the show. A charming performance! A perfect appetizer for what’s to come.

After a few anxious moments, Little Simz finally takes the stage with “Silhouette”, from her latest album NO THANK YOU. Dressed in her usual concert uniform of an extra-long white shirt and black tie, because, understandably, she has no need for flashiness. Alone on stage, she receives the full force of the ecstatic Montreal audience. You can see on her face that she’s delighted.

The rapper performed half the concert on her own. With little downtime between songs, there’s no time to get bored. For her song “Heart on Fire”, the lighting changes from white to bright red, the screen at the back projects flames, and the temperature in the room rises. The same thing happens shortly afterwards for her hit “Venom”, with green. In the middle of the concert, a guitarist and a bassist come in to assist with the remaining songs.

Honestly, Little Simz’s live art loses none of its precision in front of an audience. The lyrics are clear, the syllables cut, the consonants incisive. You can understand it all, you can follow it all. It’s impressive. Not once does she stumble in her lyrics or rhythms. And she does it like it’s easy!

At one point, Simz leaves the stage while the other two jam for a few moments. She returns to the triumphant sound of “Gorilla”, a song that truly deserves to be in the hip-hop pantheon. At this point, the crowd can no longer contain itself. And so goes the rest of the concert, hit after hit, interspersed with softer, more heartfelt moments.

Sii Simz has something special, and that’s sincerity. She doesn’t overplay her presence, and that’s what I appreciate most about her. She’s modest, but aware of her extraordinary talent and the time it took her to get where she is. She shares her pride, which is promptly reciprocated. When she smiles when people sing her lyrics, you can tell it’s true.

One word comes to mind: radiant.

So it was an important show for both sides. For Little Simz, a warm return to Montreal as part of a tour that was drawing to a close. For us, the return of one of today’s finest hip-hop artists. If you were looking for an induction on Monday night, it was at MTELUS.

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