Perhaps I’m a bit of a philistine but there’s times where I feel that going to gigs where you don’t really know who’s playing can help make the experience better…
With this mind frame in place, I made my way to Lowkey. The queue itself was longer than I thought, leaving me thinking “dude’s obviously got a big following and I’m obviously oblivious”, but that’s always a good sign, especially for UK hip hop artists. The queue had a nice mishmash of devoted fans, fellow newbies, possible date night companions and people who genuinely weren’t sure of what to do on a Sunday night; overall the vibe was universal: Hip Hop is what we want. And boy did the acts deliver.
The first support act up was Awate. He gave us a passionate history lesson on his upbringing in Camden and his family’s heritage. This coupled with his truly deep and heartfelt lyrics, the impressive production behind his beats, and his overall enigmatic showmanship and stage presence was a solid introduction to the night that left me already feeling homesick for London.
Mic Righteous is another wordsmith who is equally as passionate at his craft as Awate. He even controlled crowd during his song ‘Low’, proceeding to lie on the floor and jump up instantly at the drop, and everyone did the same more or less. His charisma was conveyed through his intricate wordplay and the characters he’d created for each song he performed. Even during his ‘Fire In The Booth’ rendition, the energy of the crowd grew warmer as it was clearly a heartfelt moment for everyone. Righteous’ lyrics soon turned into spoken word performance that spoke volumes to fans new and old, setting the mood for Lowkey.
(Mic Righteous put on a good show, commanding the audience with a confident performance)
The man himself was humble, even when he made a little mistake about where he was performing, the crowd forgave him and proceeded to put their hands in the air. In between the fist bumps and handshakes, and even bringing a fellow crowd member called Muhammed on stage to rap alongside him, Lowkey’s overall demeanour was down-to-earth and just genuinely loved his reality. By ending his set on his tribute to the Grenfell Tower victims, Lowkey was able to maintain the hype of the crowd but channel it into one of remembrance as we shone lighters and phone torches onto the blacked out stage.
At the end, Lowkey and his talented band of brothers then proceeded to meet and greet everyone with as much warmth and sincerity as they delivered during the event. I even got a fist bump from the main act, which was unexpected, I’ll admit. I was a newbie but despite this, and being flanked by hardcore and devoted fans who knew every song and its lyrics, I still felt welcomed and accepted.
The whole event was incredibly welcoming and encompassing, and I’ll be checking out the trio’s back catalogue, as I’m now a fan of all three acts.
(There was a nice moment as Lowkey was joined on stage by a delighted audience member for a cameo appearance)
Photos courtesy of Nicole Raymond