The expectation was for a lively, bouncy gig from Princess Nokia – and she delivered. That said, her early promise of embodying Keith Flint might have been a little over-ambitious for the rapper born Destiny Nicole Frasqueri – their focus was more on fluidity on many fronts than giving us the same Flint spirit.
In early 2020 Princess Nokia simultaneously released two albums, Everything Sucks and Everything Is Beautiful, an unusual act of duality but reflecting on the gig, that duality is more what she embodies than any Prodigy singer-dancer. Though diving onto stage with a dynamism to match the bass of The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter,’ she would often fall into sweet love ditties, that were reminiscent of Judy Garland or Doris Day and other singers of that time.
Clad in sports casual and baseball cap, she prepared us for some kick-ass hip hop but also appealed to her younger fans down at the front that were making heart shapes gestures in the air. It’s impossible to define the work of Destiny, as we witness her meander across the stage, diving in and out of the two personas, whilst exclaiming that she is a human being doing this for a living and should be able to go into the mould that is herself – all whilst also delivering for her fans.
With Coucou Chloe on for support, an artist focused on the production with occasional MCing and an elusive persona, it’s a different kettle entirely witnessing Princess Nokia, as she gets deep, personal, engaging with fans of all ages.
In truth it felt too improvised and ill-rehearsed, but her fans were there for it, and the frenzy down the front was oft fierce.
With a notable sports bra thrown at her on stage, and the clear delight of a thirteen-year-old fan at being given Nokia’s baseball cap, it’s clear that her fan base are loyal and were elated with this EIF performance, though it too often felt like being pulled in too many directions. Though pleasing and enjoyable, it didn’t match up to the rest of the EIF 2022 contemporary music bill. Still, the International Festival is branching out to perhaps younger audiences and this gig was no bad way to start to do so.
Picture Credit: Andrew Perry