“I was told,” Little Simz says with more than a hint of barely concealed pride, “that I was the first woman to sell out Brixton three nights in a row.” Saturday night’s show was the history-making finale of her Sometimes I Might Be Introvert tour, and while the crowd was noticeably and understandably thin on the ground – presumably either isolating with COVID-19 or cautiously avoiding it – the fans who did make it out had more than enough rapturous cheers and thunderous applause to make the typically 5000-capacity room feel packed.
Eschewing flashy production in favour of a simple backdrop with Simz’s real name, Simbi, emblazoned in capital letters, the stage was instead filled out by a full band, four backing singers and Simz herself. She seems relaxed and was totally in command, wearing black shades and an oversized, sand-coloured hoodie, which she later swaps for a loose fit zebra print shirt. She looks every inch a star throughout the show; Simz’s ease and confidence are self-evident. No wonder: the album she’s taking on the road with this eponymous tour is a five-star masterpiece that NME hailed as “near-perfect”.
The contrast between the rich orchestration of ‘…Introvert’ cuts and the harder, more grime-leaning beats from her earlier catalogue could easily have made for a disjointed live experience in the hands of a lesser artist, but Simz keeps the transitions smooth with her ability to switch fluidly between moods, flows and tempos. Whether she’s grooving centre stage to the boundary-drawing ‘Protect My Energy’ or climbing the barrier to fire off bars at the speed of a semi-automatic on ‘101 FM’, the energy never drops.
Hours before she took to the stage, the nominees for the BRIT Awards 2022 were announced, with Simz picking up four nods, including for Best Album. Although this level of mainstream recognition is perhaps of lesser importance to Simz (self-admittedly unimpressed by fame, she didn’t acknowledge the news from the stage), this context leant a certain poignancy to tracks such as ‘God Bless Mary’, a tribute to a long-suffering neighbour who endured her early musical experiments, and the sky-scraping ‘How Did You Get Here’, which also recounts Simz’s journey as an artist.
As the show closes out with ‘Woman’ and its heartfelt hook line, “Woman to woman, I just wanna see you glow”, all that is left to wonder is where Simz will go next and how brightly she will shine when she gets there.