Last night saw the culmination of Bershka’s huge-hitting Onstage series, a cross-country project that’s brought Europe’s most exciting emerging musical talent to intimate gigs in celebration of their self-designed merch line collabs. In the final installment, Belgian rapper Woodie Smalls took to the Brussels Bershka store stage for a rousing show.
At the heart of the Belgian capital, the queue of Smalls fans got pretty rowdy, and an extra hundred were let through the store doors for the gig. As the crowd grew, local DJ hero Regulatorr spun trap and hip-hop from his expansive crate-digging collection. Having grown up with Smalls, he’s been part of the musician’s crew from the early days, and as well as being an original producer, he DJs all of Woodie Smalls’ live shows.
Smalls has been banging out hits since his breakout tune “Champion Sound” age 19, and first garnered viral fame with the hazy, bouncy “Planet Shrooms” visual. With a Vince Staples-esque, West Coast-flecked flow, off-beat Odd Future-like aesthetic, and his own magic presence, the show was electric. The rapper, dressed head-to-toe in Bershka with a black gilet, tee, metallic combats and black sneakers, he kicked things off with the melodic, bass-driven “Too Soft”. As the crowd swelled and got down, he shot through his thumping discography – the sunny “Tokyo Drift”, “Problems”, “Planet Shrooms” – before ending on his most recent tunes grabbing international attention, “Sidelines” and the room-ravaging “Pending”.
“Bright new future, I picture it/gotta be on some different shit,” he spat, sauntering across the stage with true steez. “Took a little pause, got back to it/never would've thought that we would split/doing just fine by the end of it.”
Smalls’ Brussels show was the sixth and final gig in the series of performances curated by Bershka and Dazed for the Onstage series – we’ve gotten down to savage rapper Aly Bass in Paris, sung long to Let’s Eat Grandma in London, vibed with German R&B singer Ace Tee in Berlin, been blown away by Milanese rapper RKOMI in Milan, and been bewitched by Nathy Peluso in Barcelona.
As part of the collab, Woodie designed his own merch t-shirt with Bershka. The minimalist design on a classic white tee draws from “Pending”, with simple black text of the lyrics: “It’s two sides of a story I’d like to tell”, while on the back, it says starkly: “Join the parade”, in reference to his Soft Parade LP.
The rapper’s merch collab tee is now available to shop online. If you missed the gig, you can check the live stream of Woodie’s performance above.