London is the 27th biggest city in the world with 8.63 million people. We may not be the biggest but we’re a force to be reckoned with. Grime is one of the things that make most proud to hail from East London. The same could be said for Charlie Sloth’s final stop on his The Plug tour. It, not only plugged artists that are well known (we’ll get to that part in a minute), but also championed the underground scene. The thing I loved most about it was these artists could be my next-door neighbours and they are touring the UK and are tearing shit up! I was plugged into the sheer capacity of giftedness that only a city like London can provide.
Charlie Sloth has had a pretty awesome career. He is one of the reasons you nod your head to the likes of Bugzy Malone. ‘Of Course’, a track from Giggs’ incredible 2016 album ‘Landlord’, was produced by Sloth. Finally, he gave us Fire in the booth: a online series platforming some of the most incredible freestyles known to man. For any Grime head, Sloth’s tour was certainly not to be missed!
The tour started in Leeds in September 2017, visited Glasgow, then worked its way through all the major cities in England before bounding for the reload in London town.
The night went in quick bursts — a rave-style fire in the booth. I was greeted with a large glow stick and an electric crowd. I’ve never associated glow sticks outside of a festival or a bass night but its appearance at the O2 forum, Kentish Town instantly took my mind to Boy Better Know’s music video for Too Many Man- the UV — a paint rave. I stood quickly corrected, with delight to have forgotten how beautifully mulitfacited any culture of truth is. Being London’s number 1 raver and also a writer, nights like this make my job so much more satisfying and easy. Even on the most tired and sober of nights, these talented artists put a smile on my face and a skank in my fingers.
Usually at a gig I’m pretty much front and centre in order to really hear and see but the O2 forum, Kentish Town has this real sense of connectivity and intimacy even though its vast in space and size. I spent the night wilfully leaving the front to experience the views from the back and from the top of the balcony. Beats, vibes and rhymes filled the entire room to the brim with energy – the night was electric. A beautiful patchwork, with DJ Jonezy as the thread holding it together, from the grime to the hip hop beats to even having space for some dancehall and then, suddenly, hitting hard with those afrobeats.
The South London collective House of Pharaohs definitely moved the crowd, ‘I can’t go left, I can’t go right’. I saw a sea of smartphones capturing the best of moments mixed with a whirlwind of jumping, grooving and of course skanking. Mic Righteous really stood out to me. His immediate command and presence demanded respect. Then, if that wasn’t already enough to keep us powered up and in. His first bar was, ‘you don’t wanna get banged out’. Signed. Sealed. Delivered.
The mosh pit created by Fekky got me thinking about how Grime and Rock can produce a similar kind of energy but in an extremely atypical and unexpected way. So for all those fooled that moshing doesn’t happen outside of a Rock or an essentially ‘white context’ this is exhibit A. The circle was made. The tunes were provided and the pushing began. Fekky (or Big Fekky if you were there) in a khaki camouflage-esc jacket (winter has come for sure) spun lyrics and performance into gold, Grime, greatness.
The territory where Grime meets Trap is always exciting because you really see the individuality the UK music scene offers. The evolution of music and culture is now primarily about how we can successfully find new ways to fuse two ideas together. That is why, when Charlie Sloth erupted on the scene to end the 5 hours of Grime heavy hitters, you knew it was perfect end to seamless night. Sloth was no different than how he appears online — energy, punch lines and power. He brought out Giggs, who undoubtedly right now is The Man. Giggs is a shining example for anyone who has doubts about how to put out art authentically, whether it’s Grime, Trap or Rap I would even bet money on Giggs murdering a dancehall beat. He was on and off in a flash Whippin’ Excursion dropped and the night was left as it begun. Money well spent for those that did purchase a ticket and a big win for those lucky enough to tell the tale for free. Charlie wooed us but also allowed us to chill if we wanted to after all if you didn’t come from 9pm then you really missed out. The night finished at 2am.
If and when this tour happens again and you’re lucky enough to find out in time get a ticket, it’s truly a fantastic example of how the music of the disenfranchised will always rise above and beyond expectation.
House of Pharoahs
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