One Danish native Nanna Oland Fabricius a.k.a Oh Land dwells in electropop territory and assumes the baton for the first leg of this London melody meet. She harnesses Karen O’s astute fashion ; the engaging experimentalism of Bjork and instant magnetism of a young Debbie Harry. ‘White Nights’ is a mix of placid claves, rising bass and domestic keys which sounds similar to Disneys’ ‘I Just Can’t Wait to Be King’.
On ‘We Turn It Up’ her pre-pubescent looking percussionist provides the marching band impetus, she defiantly proclaims on the African influenced xylophone ‘we turn it up/ we don’t care what you say’. A fitting ode to a determined and infectious presence who twirls across the stage nonplussed in her Beetlejuice poncho, with a talking balloon projection in tow eerily invited as her backing vocalists. This Brooklyn based female is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Relinquishing her of the baton is homegrown rapper Ghostpoet who hails from The Specials’ heartland, Coventry. Enclosed in the middle of proceedings, the Trilby donning character signed to Gilles Petersons’ Brownswood Recordings last year and is steadfastly becoming lauded as a lyricist with a profound conscience in the vein of Roots Manuva , Ty and Mos Def. Whilst, the production expertise has a plethoric mix influenced by Fly Lo and Squarepusher.
He’s an imposing figure, yet professes a reserved and calculated aura to his craft propped up by his nonchalant drummer and assiduous bass player. Latest single ‘Cash and Carry Me Home’ from recent LP Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam exemplifies the likeable chilled musings. The poet spits in a languid fashion on relationships and drinking himself into an abyss over a syncopated, spacious backing track.
In truth, the punters are disengaged with the poet’s mellow ramblings. Yet, he still attempts to rouse their senses via his zealous skanking halfway which manages to propel a mic stand to the concrete. A secure act who will seek to iron out any creases as he progresses in the live sphere.
Rinse FM DJ Plastician, posted a clip in early Autumn of a voice which emerged from a soulful quarter. A slight air of melancholy perhaps, yet the clever poignancy that projected through my speakers was one which flourished unabated. The spirited voice had a name: Jamie Woon. Whilst the influence may have arisen from a former underground radio station (amongst having a confidant in the formerly anonymous Burial), lethargic and archaic brushes would do better to maintain their upkeep rather than paint him as a ‘dubstep’ artist.
The South Londoner brought a sundry mix of the Blog-dem, accessible aficionados and an unwholesome glut of mammoth bearded male to a Scala setting brimming with optimism and buoyancy over the BBC Sound of 2011 shortlist candidate. A temperate buzz was ubiquitous in the nightair (anticipatory drumroll…abrupt cymbal crash) Chants of “Wooooo-ney,Wooooo-ney” transpired from the crowd compered by an incognito Jonathan Ross and the setting descended into obscurity. A woodblock led backbeat reprised with new live band members assuming their co-pilot roles and a figure clad in black emerged into the light. Darth Vader? No. Mystic Meg? Pushing it a tad. The man himself ‘Ja-Woo’ was received amicably and in swift haste laced his able wizardry.
The ambient beginnings of ‘Blue Truth’ made way for a fusion of Chilli Peppers’ Freaky Styley era groove funk and blues led by the multi instrumentalist. He jokingly proclaims to the audience “ That song was inspired by the theme tune of Grange Hill” A scattered, polite giggle responds and our headline act appears a tad overwhelmed looking upon the masses at his homecoming gig. It’s probable he’s more at ease in homely venues.
However, his musical nous contributed to a sold out show and on ‘Missing Person’ he offers brief respite for the live band. A solemn acoustic affair which shrugs off the shy demeanour and has him professing ‘you know me/ I’m with you, when I’m with you’ – sincere wordplay indicative of his unrefined passion for a loved one of whom the crowd have metamorphosed into. ‘Gravity’ is a rare British slowjam in the vein of R&B pastmaster D’Angelo, focused on relinquished affection that captivates the significant female following that becomes overwhelmingly perceptible.
The loop station finally assumes centre stage for the echoic crescendos that lift favourite ‘Night Air’ and the roof off the venue. Next single ‘Lady Luck’ has a choral reprise reminiscent of Teddy Riley, generating an insurmountable verve upon the people. The ad-libbed sense of his lyricism is unlikely to inspire any spontaneous baby making, yet despite close scrutiny, Mr Woon was more than adept at this open examination. The loose and energetic side shuffles – a stark transformation from the Peter Crouch school of streetdance earlier on.
His well blogged and shared cover of Bill Monroe’s bluegrass favourite ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ is the concluding hymn for the congregation tonight, creating mass rapture upon it’s conclusion. This preacher is suitably humbled and stumbles for words before departing backstage. The soulful pop swoon from Woon has a fervour that leaves giddy anticipation for his Mirrorwriting debut in April.