Teezo Touchdown at Electric Brixton, 29/03/2024

The rapper-singer-producer brought his blend of R&B, rock, rap and theatricality to London on the final show of his European tour

“I’m 31 years old!” Texan alt rapper-singer-producer Teezo Touchdown yells to the crowd after singing “I’m a little too old for roommates / I think it’s time to find my own place” from his song ‘Familiarity’. And though the crowd is a considerably young, full of Gen Z fans with hand-painted signs and a ‘T’ on each cheek drawn on with black markers, Teezo manages to convey the relatability of a peer or a best friend while displaying the stage presence of a seasoned veteran.

Nothing but a stage, some colour-coordinated lighting, and Teezo – clad in an all-black leather outfit that’s equal parts Edward Scissorhands, a demon NFL player and a cenobite from Hellraiser, to accompany his signature nail-strand hair. The stage serves as a blank canvas for whatever Teezo invites us to imagine is there: an extraterrestrial world as he opens his show with 2020 single ‘Careful’, a chaotic neighbourhood for ‘Neighborhood’, a thunder-dome for ‘Rock Paper Strippers’. He even instructs us to imagine an invisible grand piano, complete with a Blues Clues-esque “Can you see it?” that he poses to the audience, before playing the piano riff intro of ‘Third Coast’ on his “grand piano”.

It’s a show where he’s communing with – and in complete control of – the audience, who had been warmed up by opening act LAUNDRY DAY; a youthful garage rock four-piece from Manhattan. LAUNDRY DAY present a charmingly DIY but skilfully masterful performance of their catalogue, which has embers of Beastie Boy’s ‘Intergalatic’, Sublime’s ‘Santeria’ and Wheatus’ ‘Teenage Dirtbag‘, but is also entirely their own. A personal highlight was drummer/vocalist Jude Ciulla-Lipkin stepping away from the drums to kneel front and centre for their live rendition of the band’s sweet and angsty love song ‘Jane’. LAUNDRY DAY’s set makes Electric Brixton feel as intimate as a local pub; the perfect primer for Teezo Touchdown to emerge on stage and speak to the audience between each song with a gospel-like call and response.

“At the count of three, everybody say ‘WHEN?'”, he yells into a bouquet with a mic perfectly placed at its centre. We dutifully yell our “WHEN?” and wait for Teezo’s response as he scans the crowd, taking large but intentional steps across the stage. A cenobite at the moon landing. “NOW!”, the next track plays immediately, and the crowd hangs onto every pause and sings along to every lyric. We’re so enthralled by Teezo Touchdown that we don’t realise he’s doing a bit when he points at a specific person in the audience and yells “DON’T!” repeatedly. We look around wondering what the audience member has done, what has happened, who has fallen over. “Hey, you! DON’T!” he yells one last time, before rapping the the lyric “Don’t try to talk to me in the club”, the opening lyrics to ‘Nu Nay’ from his 2023 album, How Do You Sleep At Night?. The audience breathes a collective sigh of relief before rapping the next lyric “The music is too loud in the club!” along with him. A genius and theatrical transition.

Between the call and response for each song’s transitions, and the “turn to your neighbour and say [insert request here]”, you can feel the Black church influences of Teezo Touchdown’s rock & boom, a genre he created out of rock, R&B and boom bap. It’s how the artist’s distinct delivery of his crystal clear vocals and idiosyncratic raps are perfectly at home on the more rock-tinged ‘UUHH’, but also as a featured artist on the genre bending alt hip hop of Tyler, the Creator’s ‘RUN IT UP’, and Drake‘s gospel-inspired ‘Amen’. Teezo is a chameleon in sound and on stage, and if this performance is an indicator of the boundary-pushing artist’s upcoming festival slots, Wireless festival goers have a lot to look forward to.

Teezo Touchdown returns to the UK for Wireless Festival 2024. Find tickets here.

Photo credit: Burak Cingi/Redferns