Last night was mad trill, I’m fresh out of Advil, J***s grab the wheel.
I’ve got a feeling [woo whoo] that if the last few lines of Jay-Z’s verse on Drake’s Pound Cake are anything to go by, the acts I witnessed last night had me feeling like I had been “Drankin, like I had been drinking…” because I witnessed some of the most accomplished live acoustic musicians, in the past however long, since I had attended a live acoustic showcase.
Despite my Hip [pop] Hop lyrical references, I was in fact “sober, teetotal sober…” although you could say that I was drunk in love with the music. It was like being at church, I must admit that I haven’t had the pleasure of attending and if mass media’s perception is anything to go by, the means in which the bands played their sweet intermission chords [often referred to as ‘prayer’ chords in some denominations] between every song as the lead artist rallied the crowd together, had me singing the gospel.
The first act I saw was Poppy Ajudha, who ran through a solo acoustic set that captivated the whole audience. For such a mature sounding voice to come out of someone so young has instilled faith that there’s an elaborate, soulful, future kingdom to come after the abominable techno-pop era. No matter how much I searched online, trawling through soundcloud like a fisherman’s vessel on the high seas, I found nothing I heard on the night [😪].
Up next was D-Kel, the only rapper on the night who I grew quite skeptical of at first, until I heard the homie go acoustic, that was when things got real special because his band and the backing vocalist brought the dynamism and energy that fuelled him to rock the crowd. D-Kel’s got character and it’s almost endearing in a sense that the raps are something the average guy/lady can relate to.
Between acts you had the charismatic hosting duties from Concise One and Carrie aka Gods Grace as well as none other than DJ NG, producer of the underground UK Funky House hit Tell Me which featured pop singer Katy B, spinning the tracks at the intermission. He dropped a lot classics but for some reason Shazam couldn’t identify them, a testament to his record collection as they must have been those obscure white labels, that only pop up on discogs with a hefty price tag every once in a while. I did originally plan to bring my white label of Tell Me for DJ NG to sign but my vinyl collection is comparable to a mini Aladdin’s cave, so there’s always another occasion.
At every acoustic night there’s always an act that gets everyone on their feet, gets the crowd hype and calms them right down before taking them back then forward, tonight was no different, and Santino definitely delivered with a jab, an uppercut and a few hooks. One of the crowning moments was when the drummer had a solo moment and took us all back to the land of Judah. Growing up with Rastafarian, Isralite, Kemetic and Kushite influences, I really respected Santino’s nod to the ancestors. Santino’s victory was found in his cover of Luther Vandross’ Never Too Much, whoever was stiff before that certainly loosened up when the groove was on.
The headline act was an artist by the name of Skandouz, a rapper with one of the tightest, funky and soulful bands to grace my ears at a showcase. These guys certainly weren’t no amateurs, they were much slicker than your average band. They were intuitive and connected to one another and Skandouz knew how to command the audience’s attention from the get go. I’d align Skandouz with The Roots because with The Roots you got a conscious lyricist, deep funk, soulful grooves and a great vibe, I’d definitely want to see them again live.
It was a pleasant surprise because although I’ve lived a few minutes from both The Midi Music Company and The Amersham Arms, I had never attended one of their events before. Had I known artists were performing of such high calibre, there’s no doubt in my mind that my approach to discovering new talent would be much more different, more so for location. Before last night, I would be contempt with riding the East London Line into Shoreditch on my quest to discover new music rather than saving myself a few quid, walking a few hundred metres to a local acoustic showcase, where I’d find the cream of the crop for acoustic talent.
Last night’s showcase certainly opened my eyes to the wonders of the local entertainment scene, it also reinforced how important places like The Midi Music Company and, local cultural hubs such as, The Amersham Arms are for our community -especially as artists and arts appreciators.
For more info on courses and the work of Midi Music Company click here.