Kojey Radical is undoubtedly one of the most exciting home-grown talents of the last couple of years.
Only time, and a continuation of his fierce work ethic, will tell whether he can be considered an important artist in a far larger time frame, but what is clear is that he approaches his live performances with the same aplomb that he has his recorded work to date.
Since the 2014 release of Dear Daisy, an EP which is now being studied as a module at the London College of Fashion, Kojey has proven himself as a dexterous artist not to be taken lightly. Starting life as a painter, poet and spoken word artist, he is now the founder of the PUSHCRAYONS collective, director of fashion brand Chelsea Bravo and the creator of 23 Winters and In God’s Body, two EPs which may well both be hailed as seminal works in times to come.
It’s the latter of these two bodies of work – released earlier this autumn – which Kojey is touring. Work began on this release the day after he finished 23 Winters and he brought this same intensity with him to Bristol in spades; his three-piece live band having the energy and volume of punk, the cohesion of a veteran stadium band and a charismatic, supremely confident and adept frontman in the shape of Kojey.
Slinging himself around the stage with dizzying stamina, he and the band ticked off highlights from In God’s Body as well as some of the initial tracks that gained him notoriety in 2016, most notably "Gallons". The announcement of the track inspired whoops from the crowd as Kojey stood still at centre stage, eyes closed and considerate.
The pace dramatically changed for "Mood", a track from In God’s Body with gusto and ferocity. Commandingly, Kojey informed the crowd that he needed "some energy for this one”, before growling the opening lines (“come follow me, come follow me, come...”), at which point the crowd dutifully erupted. "700 Pennies" – the latest track to be accompanied by a characteristically fascinating video – offered singalong opportunities, and "Afraid Of" showed a far more introverted and placid side to Kojey, talking briefly about the circumstances of heartbreak in which the track was written.
Just before "Icarus", Kojey peeled off into what seems like it may have been unreleased spoken word material, asking us if we'll "let him rant for a bit”. A look on his Instagram story over the weekend after the Bristol gig shows that he already has something new to be released in celebration of the tour.
The gig wasn’t a sell out like the Village Underground show and at one point Kojey asks: “why were you guys so slow at buying tickets? I thought there would be no one here!”. However Kojey brings a distinctive atmosphere with him wherever he goes. This was a clear indication that his journey is only beginning, that he is quickly enlisting a staunch following of acolytes and that the incendiary sound of his recorded output can be replicated with at least as much energy on stage.