Live: The Goat aka Wretch 32

So last night I headed to the O2 arena in Shepherd’s Bush, not knowing that one of the best shows of my life would await me.
Unfortunately I was late which means I missed Angel as a support act – I love his music so it was a bit of a shame but oh well, the best part was still to come anyway. I’ve seen Wretch support other artists before – Yungen and Ray BLK for instance – but I’ve never been to one of his headline shows. He’s one of my favourite rappers out there so I was more than happy to finally being able to go to one of his gigs.

I must say, it was everything that I hoped for AND more!
Let’s talk about the stage set-up first. How many artists can claim having a full live-band, including drums, background vocalists and bass, on stage? I don’t think too many can if I am being honest. Nowadays a lot of rappers, singers, bands etc. are limited to only a DJ unfortunately. Well, Wretch could provide all that though. The purple, green or blue light effects throughout the show seemed to represent the mood of each track.

Secondly, his outfit! How exquisite was his outfit?! A black-white chequered two-piece was his choice of the night, and it looked greatly unique! That wasn’t the highlight though – underneath his jacket he wore a t-shirt that said Fr32 Libya, making everyone aware of the horrible circumstances of slavery in Libya. To top it all off, he gave an expressive speech about it as well – it’s always amazing when people use their huge platform to make everyone aware of those cases.

Let’s now continue to the show though.Not too long ago his album FR32 dropped, an incredibly well-composed masterpiece which sounds even better live as I now know. Wretch 32 performed a wide array of his new songs, such as Colour Purple, Happy or His & Hers – each and every one of them performed with such an enormous and effortless passion and energy. I could really tell that he breathes his music.
He also showcased some from Growing Over Life, his previous album – 6 Words among other. But the oldies weren’t missing either – Traktor, a song which has been released in 2010, was part of last night’s setlist as well. It’s old but still oh, so gold. I mean, how extraordinary is the quote “My lifestyle is terribly wild but you’ll never catch me on the Jeremy Kyle show“!?
Next to a stunning Young Fire, Old Flame reunion with Avelino, the goat aka Wretch 32 also brought out Stormzy for their collaboration 21 Gun Salute. This was one of my favourite moments because not only do I absolutely adore this tune but Stormzy also counts to my favourite artists. So what do you do when two of your favourite artists are sharing the stage? That’s right, you celebrate life and enjoy every second.



However, the biggest shutdown of the night was at the end of the show, when Wretch brought out Jahlani and, ultimately, Kojo Funds for their track Tell Me. Boy, I can’t even describe how hyped the energy was. The whole audience seemed to dance off their feet, it was a perfect ending to an undoubtedly brilliant show – probably the best show I have been to this year. Guys, if Wretch 32 is ever coming to perform in your city, don’t think twice – just buy tickets immediately ’cause you do not want to miss out on this. Trust me.


 

Live: MOE Presents

I love going to gigs and I love them even more when it’s an intimate one without a rather huge and pushy crowd. I simply believe you can embrace the music much better when the location is smaller and gives off a familiar vibe. So yesterday [30th Oct] I headed to a live music night, organized by MOE Presents who showcase up-and-coming UK rappers, singers or Grime MC’s. The motive took place at Upstairs At The Ritzy in Brixton.


Five artists were able to perform some of their best songs during their 15-minute set, among them were Emmanuel Adenuga, Warren, Lavz, Chysianna, Peaky and ultimately JokShan as the headliner.

The show kicked off with Emmanuel Adenuga presenting his soothing R&B-infused slow jams, such as Don’t Break My Heart, for which the music video only got released the other week (check it out here. ) or Make You Mine.
Singer Warren followed soon after, and mate, I loved her vibes. Her voice was purely soulful yet very lively, and her songs were genuinely authentic. Additionally to her own material she also covered Dave’s Wanna Know and Not3s’s Addison Lee – it was really pleasant to hear those tracks in a completely new way, she definitely nailed it. Make sure to check out her recent EP here. 



Next up was Lavz, without a doubt one of the best female rappers out there – I am not playing! I have recently reviewed her last show, check it out here if you’d like to find out more about her. She performed some of her older tunes with an effortless flow, such as Formula or Run It and for her last song she invited Kxng Junior on stage. They recently dropped a joint EP titled Summer Days&Winter Nights which focuses on domestic abuse, based on real life events. Listen to Chapter 1 here, it’s an incredibly honest and meaningful project so don’t miss out.


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Chysianna. What can I say…I loved her vibe! Her vocals are stunningly tuneful, with a dash of confident swag. Her stage performance didn’t lack either as she performed her songs with pure certainty and managed to captivate the crowd immediately. I didn’t know about her before but she got herself a new fan. Her latest single Mulla is now out via LinkUp TV, watch it here and enjoy.

Reppin’ West London was rapper Peaky,  who showcased some truly vivid Hip Hop tunes, produced by himself. He’s got an electric rap flow without a doubt, such a shame he couldn’t perform more of his tracks. Check him out here. 



Last but not least it was headliner’s JokShan‘s turn. For those of you who don’t know about him, JokShan is a West London-based R&B singer blessed with a strongly passionate voice. Unfortunately there were some technical difficulties when he came on stage but he mastered it nevertheless. Joined by Boy Nash, they performed a song together – acapella! It was brilliant, I really enjoyed listening to both of them. When technical matters were finally solved, JokShan performed some of his other tracks, all of them deeply melodious. Check out more of JokShan here and Boy Nash here.

My last shoutout goes to the host: mate, you really nailed your attempt to do a freestyle. Never give up trying 😉

As a result I can say that this was definitely not my last time attending an MOE Presents show, nor was it my last visit to Ritzy. I met some genuinely talented people and had the chance to broaden my musical horizon once again. Until next timeeee.

 

 

Live: Lavz

Last night I had the chance to attend a gig night from a wide array of artists, genre-ranging from pop to indie to rap, which took place at Islington’s O2 Arena.
Among them was Lavz, a rapper I have already introduced to you a while back (check here). Only recently she released a new mixtape titled Not This Time – entirely produced by herself.

As I have never seen her live before I didn’t know what to expect – sometimes you go to a concert and the rapper/singer barely performs and only uses backup or just throws in ad-libs as the DJ plays his song. Well, this certainly wasn’t the case with Lavz. When entering the stage, the female MC brought such a vibe with her and managed to capture the crowd immediately.


Lavz performed a decent selection out of her music portfolio. While showcasing the songs of her EP Not This Time, the rapper brought out singer-songwriter HURU (more info about her here) for their collaborative, rather mellow single Meditate. The connection between them was genuinely organic and they offered a great live presence as a duo.
Next to her current body of work, she also presented older tunes such as Way About It or Minor To Major with latter also being the name of her own clothing line.

What can I say… Without a doubt this artist has absolutely killed the stage! Never-ending energetic vibes, great support by her incredible live band and talented background vocalists, and her abilites of engaging the crowd with her high-levels of confident and rousing stage presence turned the gig into one to truly remember. I’m not playing: Lavz is one of the best female rappers in the UK these days.



Check out her EP below:

Live: Damian Marley 2.0

On June 21st Damian Marley, Jamaican Reggae and Dancehall superstar and son of the legendary Bob Marley, finally hit town for a show during his Europe tour. Even though I’ve already seen him at a festival last year I just didn’t want to miss this concert as I do love me some Reggae and Dancehall. Also, any excuse to go to a concert is a good one.

First on stage was a German Reggae act called Patrice. I must say, I didn’t know most of his songs but he did make a great impression. Appearing on stage with a proper live-band and some amazing background vocalists, Patrice performed for nearly an hour, showcasing his smooth vocals and saving my favourite song, titled Soulstorm, for the end. You have to check it out below – it’s a stirring track with deep lyrics.



After the support act left, the stage crew was getting all ready to set up the needed equipment for Damian Marley and his band.

But what I genuinely cannot understand is why artists always take so damn long to come on stage. Like what’s the deal of waiting half an hour (or longer) until finally showing up when everything and everyone else is ready? I’m just mentioning this because, when the whole band already started jamming Bob Marley‘s Roots, Rock, Reggae, the crowd thought that he’d be on stage any second. Instead, another artist whose name I unfortunately forgot, appeared and everyone just thought “WTF?” – or so it seemed. But negative vibes aside, the artist, a rather enthusiastic Rastafari all the way from Kingston, performed some dope joints and managed to build up the anticipation for Damian even more.

And then finally the time had come! Starting to play Make It Bun Dem (feat. Skrillex), the band introduced the Jamaican artist on stage. And his show was everything I wanted it to be.
From old tracks such as Justice, Hey Girl or Road To Zion to more relevant ones such as Affairs Of The Heart – he performed each and every one of them with such a passion, undermined by the admirable efforts of his live band, and his wonderful background singers (who showed off the dopest dancemoves). After giving a speech about the greatness and many advantages of Marijuana, he showcased his brand new release Medication (feat. Stephen Marley) which is about – you guessed it – his love about the plant and its many benefits. Seriously, this track is sooo catchy and has been stuck in my head ever since. You’ll find me singing and dancing to it 24/7, no kidding. Oh, by the way: Medicaaaaaaaation, your medication makes me high, just be paaaaaatient! Check it out below, and get infected as well:



To my huge excitement he also performed some of Bob Marley‘s timeless classics, War/No More Trouble – a song which seems to be more than relevant these days – and Is This Love being among them. (To make it clear: I do not like Damian Marley only because of Bob Marley – yes, Bob is probably my favourite artist of all times, but I like Damian for his awesome music. 🙂 )
His all-known banger Welcome To Jamrock closed the show, and an unforgettable night.

Just like last year, Damian Marley convinced the crowd with his highly unique voice and his effortless stage appearance, showcasing his finest abilites by switching between smooth, mellow Reggae and intoxicating Dancehall productions.

Until next time, Junior Gong Zilla!

 

Great Escape Festival – A Review

Finally the day had come: The Great Escape Festival in Brighton was about to start, which for me meant the official start of festival season, yay!

For those of you who don’t know about TGE – it is a 3-day festival in the amazing city of Brighton with its beautiful seafront. The festival is spread across the whole city, performances and stages are in music halls, clubs or even tiny pubs. Spotlight is on emerging or independent singers and bands, and the line-up is huge! So you’ll definitely find artists you have never seen/heard before!
Panels, discussions and speeches are provided for those who work in the music industry which makes the Great Escape an amazing place for networking as well.

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So let’s start with Thursday! Pouring rain awaited me when I arrived in Brighton, obviously. After collecting my ticket and wristband for the festival and checking in into my lovely Bed & Breakfast (seriously guys, if you ever consider staying in Brighton for a few days, then go to Colson House – it’s lovely and no this is no advertisement, just sharing my experiences. )

Anyway, I headed down to Hotel Pelirocco for Liberty Music PR‘s GRL PWR showcase. Unfortunately I arrived quite late so most acts had already performed – nevertheless I was still able to watch and listen to amazing performances, including JONES who was headlining. I have to admit, I didn’t know the pop/soulsinger before but I’m glad I do now. Check her out here.
The incredibly intimate setting of the venue turned it into an even more special experience.

Another act I am very thankful to finally having seen was Ray BLK at The Old Market. Born in Nigeria and raised in South London, the singer has made major waves in the music biz over the past year by receiving several awards and releasing masterpieces of songs. Check out her debut album Durt here. I promise you will love it if you are into R&B and soul.
Safe to say that she did not disappoint at all. Her vocals are so extremely soulful, heartfelt and passionate, and you just know that she loves what she is doing. A proper live band, consisting of background singers, a bassist, drummer and more, made a great contribution to the set and left me highly impressed. I’m looking forward to seeing her again this summer at Lovebox Festival! Watch a video of her show here.

On to day two! Have you ever been to a show at a Vintage store? Yeah, me neither, until Saturday afternoon when I headed over to Beyond Retro for the Leeds-based band Marsicans. What a fancy, powerful and uplifting performance they delivered! Brilliant guitar riffs and energizing drum sounds is what they are all about. The fact it was based in a vintage store made the performance even more authentic. In case you don’t know the indie-rock/pop band yet, check them out here.

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After a few drinks and some networking at the Arch, we headed straight to Shooshh where GRM Daily had its showcase – with a pretty solid line-up that consisted of Not3s, Kojo Funds, Tizzy and Brandz and many more special guests.
Right after GRM Daily, New Gen had its afterparty at Patterns – a club close-by.
What can I say guys, the New Gen compilation, launched on Caroline SM’s New Gen radio show on Radar Radio and recorded via XL Recordings, is my favourite release of this year so far and I listen to it A LOT because it’s just that good. And no, I’m not exaggerating 😉 If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do me a favour and check it out here.

So anyway, the show at Patterns was dope. I was right in time for 67, a rap crew straight outta Brixton Hill. Raw and gritty bars combined with haunting, heavy beats is what makes them unique. Recently they unleashed a collab (Listen here) with Nadia Rose, and all of a sudden she came out to support them on stage! It was a real turn up, believe me.

Jevon followed – his live version of Man Of The Hour was flawless, if not even better than recorded! Same goes for Renz who was next! After special guests Belly Squad, Bonkaz came out to perform a couple tracks, And Dat among others, and confidentally shut down the stage – the club was hyped!
All in all, it was an amazing night. I can’t really put it in words though because it was so unbelievably eventful!

The last day, Saturday 20th, was rather relaxing. Or at least I thought so in the beginning.
I headed back to Beyond Retro to watch Skies, a Kent-based band which mix rock, pop and emo elements, and delivered a bracing perfomance!
Swedish electronic/pop singer Skott and East London’s rapper Ryan De La Cruz (who had such an incredible energy, wow!) were on my programme next after I fuelled up at an All You Can Eat Buffet.
The highlight of the night was Stefflon Don though! Her “I don’t give a shit”-attitude is admiring, and so are her tracks. Booty-shaking dancehall combined with rap elements and uncensored, honest lyrics – that’s what you could look forward to! Much to my enjoyment she brought out Abra Cadabra for their collaboration Envy Us – they nailed it.

20170521_000302-1.jpgThen the coolest part happened though: For her last track Real Ting she asked people in the crowd to join her on stage, and what can I say – I definitely did not expect that I would ever be dancing on stage with her and a few others. It was a bizarre moment which I will surely never forget!

So as a conclusion I can say: Great Escape, you were literally great!! Can’t wait for next year which is going to be even better because the Unsigned Music Awards will take place one day before! For more information please read here!

I hope you enjoyed reading my little review – I tried to make it as short as possible 😉 Cheers to everyone who made this weekend a memorable one <3


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At the Prince Albert, look at the amazing artwork!

Live: Tory Lanez

Already about a week ago, on March 17th, I attended the Tory Lanez concert in my home town Munich. I was excited about it for weeks, and as the Drake concert I planned on going to the day before got cancelled spontaneously (still bummed about that tbh), I was looking forward to it even more as I hadn’t been on a gig this year so far – I know, me not going to a gig in such a long time is such a shame 😉

So anyway, here is my review. The event started at around 8pm with Veecee, Tory’s official DJ. He made sure the crowd got hyped enough for the actual show later on, and in my case he very much succeeded. Veecee dropped banger after banger and my excitement about Tory rose with every minute.

Before the artist from Toronto appeared on stage, he had another special guest prepared for us: Yoko Gold, and here I would like to make a short excursion to introduce you to him. First of all I have to say: his vocals are so sweet and pure! Yoko has been in the Toronto music scene for quite a while already but deservedly gained more attention with his debut single Gone. I hereby want to give him a massive shoutout because the talented singer was kind enough to sign my ticket after the show, plus sang me a Happy Birthday serenade when I told him it was my birthday the next day. So thank you, Yoko Gold, that was definitely a pretty amazing pre-birthday surprise! Make sure you check out his debut single below!


But now back to Tory Lanez. What can I say, it was incredible – even though there was a 2 metre tall guy basically standing in front of me for some of the time. The R&B artist brought out his A-game and made sure he connected with the crowd all the time. From LUV to D.R.E.A.M to Say It – he performed it all with such a dedicated passion and it was clearly visible that he enjoyed being on stage.
The absolute highlight though was when Tory was crowdsurfing. And with crowdsurfing I mean proper crowdsurfing! From the front of the audience to the very back, and to the front again. While performing Diego, he dived above the hands and heads of his fans and it couldn’t have been more fun.
Seriously, it has been one of the best and most fun nights I have had in a while. Sometimes you go to a gig of someone and you get really disappointed by their performance (luckily didn’t happen to me often) but I’m actually listening to Lanez’s music even more now. . The way the singer involves his audience in his show is super personable, as well as his energizing performance on stage. So I would always spend money for a Tory Lanez ticket again, anytime! Check out some footage I shot below.


Live: Bien Monk

English below

Das gute an einem neuen Studium ist, dass man viele neue, unterschiedliche Leute kennen lernt. Besonders in einem Studium mit dem Schwerpunkt Musik trifft man die verschiedensten kreativen Köpfe, von denen jeder ein anderes Talent hat- sei es singen, Gitarre spielen oder DJ-ing.

Einer unter ihnen ist Akio, ein Rapper, der sich Bien Monk nennt. Letzten Freitag war sein Gig in einer kleinen, aber gemütlichen Bar namens Sofa So Good – ein wenig außerhalb von der Innenstadt Münchens. Und da es ja nie schadet, neue Künstler auszuchecken, waren einige meiner Mitstudenten und ich natürlich am Start um zu supporten!
Die Location war gut gefüllt mit seinen bisherigen Supportern aber auch vielen, die noch nicht mit seiner Musik vertraut waren, so wie wir. Und das Fazit ist: Es hat sich gelohnt zu kommen.
Bien Monk, der den amerikanischen Rapper Kid Cudi als seine größte Inspiration sieht und all seine englischen Lyrics  selber schreibt, hat um ungefähr zehn Uhr losgelegt und sowohl seine neuen Tracks aus seinem bald-erscheinenden Mixtape performt, als auch ein paar ältere. Mit viel Hingabe hat er seine Musik präsentiert und es geschafft, viele neue Fans zu bekommen, indem er jeden aus dem Publikum begeistert hat.

Bis jetzt gibt es noch kein genaues Release-datum für das neue Mixtape, aber macht euch schon mal bereit, da Bien Monk voller Talent ist und es mit Sicherheit noch weit bringen wird.

Falls ihr noch nicht überzeugt seit, dann checkt ihn hier mal aus:

English:

The one good thing about starting a new course at University is that you get to meet lots of new, different people. Especially when you study Music Management you encounter diverse creative heads- one wants to become a singer, or a DJ or an events manager,… Long story short, you only meet talented and ambitious people.

One of them is Akio, who goes by the artist name Bien Monk. The emerging rapper invited my classmates and me to his gig last Friday, and it’s worth a review.
The gig took place just outside Munich’s city center, in a cosy little bar called Sofa So Good (get the joke?!). The venue was filled and everybody was excited to see what the rapper with the togolese roots has in store.
Bien Monk, who sees Kid Cudi as his biggest influence and writes all the lyrics himself, started at about 10 pm and presented his new tracks off his upcoming mixtape, as well as a few older tunes. For a bit longer than an hour, he showcased his music with pure passion and was able to enthuse the fairly big crowd.

Check out his music on his soundcloud channel BienMonk and stay tuned for the release of his mixtape in about 3 weeks.

 

Live: Wiley

With a slight delay of two busy weeks, here comes the review of the Wiley gig at Koko in Camden.

The doors got opened at 6pm on a Friday night, however my cool friend (shoutout to you if you read this) and I got to the venue at only 8pm-ish because we wanted to avoid the endless waiting for the artist. When we got there, the pre-acts, Ice Kid and Scratchy, were basically done with their show so it was time to wait for Wiley. And then there he was: With a grey tracksuit feeling all comfy, the godfather of Grime was ready to deliver an unforgettable show. While the gig was supposed to represent his album ‘The Godfather‘, which is not even out yet except one single that dropped hours before the show, the MC rather performed classics from  Wot Do You Call It to Chasing The Art.

After a few tracks it was time to introduce the first special artist to the crowd: P Money. I was never really aware of his music to be honest, but I really enjoyed his feature.
However, I was more excited about when Wiley brought Chipmunk to the stage. Here I have to be honest: Earlier I didn’t really care about the artist and didn’t support his music for several reasons. But I take it all back now after seeing him perform! He rocked the stage and dropped amazing bars, and now I’m actually a fan because without a doubt he’s a great MC.

As Wiley is, next to Roll Deep, also part of the Grime collective BBK I was hoping he would bring Skepta or JME on stage but I thought it would not happen after all. Jammer and Frisco appeared on stage and then….Skepta for real. The rather young and gentrified crowd cheered when he started perfoming Corn on the curb, a collaborative track with Wiley on his latest album Konnichiwa. I couldn’t hide my excitement either, I was so hyped.
But that wasn’t it yet. A few moments later, another special guest was announced, and that was no other than JME! My friend and I have already seen him at the Tinie Tempah gig earlier this year but only for a few minutes so this appearance was definitely more exciting and got us even more hyped. Skepta‘s brother, and co-founder of Boy Better Know, dropped several tunes from his album Integrity> such as Don’t@Me or Man Don’t Care, of course with support of the whole BBK crew, and Chip.

While everybody was worshipping Wiley for bringing Grime to life, the next half hour was rather all about JME, and when he jumped in the crowd to do stagediving it was clear that he had officially taken over the show (even though Wiley followed him into the crowd). In the end, the original star of the show didn’t even perform anymore himself, he was just enjoying the amazing atmosphere.
The whole show was a movie, what do you want more than only expecting to see Wiley but ending up getting a very impressive perfomance of the whole BBK crew (except Drake sadly) and some of the greatest grime MC’s? And that for less than 20 quid! It was definitely a night to remember.

Chiemsee Summer Festival – Damian Marley

It’s true- I love Bob Marley. He is the one whose music I listen to when I’m having a bad day or when I just want to calm down my mind. But another good thing about him is his son Damian Marley! His Dancehall-Reggae-R&B-inspired music caught my attention the minute I heard it and I have been a huge fan ever since. Sadly, he never seems to tour in Europe, and when he does then I’m either in the wrong country or too late with buying tickets. But when I noticed that he is going to perform at a festival close to my hometown, I didn’t hesitate long and got myself a ticket. And now the time has finally come: I have seen a Marley perform live on stage, and I couldn’t be happier. Damian’s performance was incredible and more than I have ever expected.

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Damian Marley/©Antonia Künzel

Before he appeared on stage, his band members played an instrumental version of his father’s Sun Is Shining. After that, his flag holder (is that even an expression?) came in, holding the flag of Zion followed by Marley opening up the show with Make It Bun Dem.

From No Justice to Hey Girl to the Bruno Mars collaboration Liquor Store Blues, the Jamaican-born artist also performed some of his Dad’s classics, such as War/No More Trouble or Could You Be Loved. He rocked the stage with such a dedication and motivated the enthusiastic festival crowd to celebrate with him. While many artists these days (I don’t want to mention who now) mostly sing playback and barely deliver a proper live-show anymore, I have to say that Damian Marley only had his amazing background-singers as a back-up!

So as you can probably tell after reading this, I enjoyed myself a lot and didn’t regret flying from London to Germany only to attend his show.

Live: NELLY

On Monday (23-05-2016) Nelly stopped for a show in my town regarding his “The Fix“- Worldtour. The event took place in a small concert venue in the outskirts of Munich- so of course I went there, and I must say: I enjoyed it a lot!

The concert was supposed to start at 8pm but Nelly didn’t come on stage until around 9 o’clock. When he finally appeared, the crowd went mental! The artist was in such a great mood and definitely knew how to make the show a memorable one. He got supported by two back-up rappers and a DJ who did a great job as well.

From Dilemma to Just A Dream to Die A Happy Man – Nelly performed his old skool bangers as well as his latest hits. It was a decent compilation of his most popular tracks. My personal favourite was Hot In Herre.