REVIEW: LOWKEY LIVE AT THE CORONET | LONDON 2017 (@TheNarcicyst, @RafeefZiadah, @AWATEMUSIC, @MarsmUK )

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The 28th of Septem­ber at the Cor­on­et was not host­ing just any ordin­ary occa­sion. There was noth­ing ordin­ary about the audi­ence that cir­cu­lated the entire arena stretch­ing back to the Ele­phant and castle sta­tion to get into the build­ing. This per­form­ance cer­tainly didn’t come at any ordin­ary time when you con­sider the tri­als and tribu­la­tions the Lon­don pub­lic have faced recently. This was an extraordin­ary gath­er­ing of unity and wide-eyed hope again­st domest­ic and inter­na­tion­al oppres­sion. I walked up and down the line wit­ness­ing dif­fer­ent creeds, coun­tries and back­grounds all to cel­eb­rate and seek lib­er­a­tion from one of Hip Hop’s most tan­tal­ising emcees. I spoke to one pas­sion­ate fan that really cap­tured this unity I wit­nessed at the gig,

“You come to a gig like this and you see people with their flags from Palestine, with their hij­abs, black folks, brown folks, old folks, young folks giv­ing each oth­er love show­ing each oth­er love. That kind of eth­os only hap­pens at a Lowkey gig. Few artists pull that off.”

It was how­ever unfor­tu­nate that such love was met with such hos­tile secur­ity on the night. The gar­gan­tu­an line did reflect Lowkey’s mass fol­low­ing but also rein­forced his argu­ment in his music on how people of a Muslim faith are treated with mass pre­ju­dice. Some may argue that the thor­ough search is a breath of fresh air con­sid­er­ing what happened at Arian­na Grande ‘s con­cert in Manchester, but it was the atti­tude of the staff that aggrav­ated the ordeal to the point it forced an apo­logy from Lowkey when he came out. He quickly fol­lowed with the song “ter­ror­ist” which high­lights the ste­reo­type Muslim people suf­fer with every day.

For­tu­nately as a journ­al­ist for this magazine who worked extremely hard as media part­ners for this event (along­side Glob­al Fac­tion), I was able to come in earli­er than most and man­aged to wit­ness a refresh­ing tal­ent who has been sup­port­ing Lowkey for 7 years, Awa­te. From Erit­rea, this emcee has cham­pioned the war again­st dis­crim­in­a­tion in the news and has a lib­rary of tracks reflect­ing many people’s views of injustice. He was a per­fect can­did­ate to sup­port Lowkey that even­ing and you can see why Lowkey has him as a reg­u­lar sup­port for his per­form­ances and why Awa­te opened for the Black­star gig last Fri­day. I was extremely impressed with his vocals, not just as an emcee, but also as a sing­er. His hooks are extremely edu­cated, catchy and cap­tiv­at­ing. Reminds me of how J Cole dips in and out of singing on his tracks. This exper­i­ence motiv­ated me to meet and greet the artist back­stage, pur­chase his EP Shine Ancient and play my favour­ite track from that pro­ject on the Big Bang Show (‘Dis­placed’).  Awa­te was abso­lutely respons­ible for lay­ing the found­a­tions for a renowned even­ing.

 On the tale end of meet­ing Lowkey back­stage and shak­ing his hand, I made my way back to the crowd. The atmo­sphere was con­stantly grow­ing with love and delight as poetry met the audi­ence with Rafeef Ziadah.. Her sweet cha­ris­ma and satire soaked the sour real­ity of her mes­sage she had for the people. The poem “Pass­port” was met with such awaken­ing for those who hadn’t heard the poem before.  Wide-eyed people smiled as Rafeef played on the words heir and hairs whil­st swear­ing an oath to the queen. Her break­down of her exper­i­ence at a Cana­dian immig­ra­tion office por­trayed so many points on how we are one the same and how flawed their ana­lys­is and ver­dict on what makes someone a cit­izen is. She con­tin­ued with more enlight­en­ing poetry which could only inspire and strengthen the spir­it of every­one who watched. I would abso­lutely con­sider look­ing up her stuff and catch­ing her next per­form­ance.

NARCY

The evoc­a­tion of excite­ment the crowd mani­fes­ted was at real heights by the time Nar­cy hit the stage. What bet­ter song to intro­duce him­self to the audi­ence than the track RED that fea­tures Yasi­in Bey. The Iraqi- Cana­dian who resides in Mon­tréal blew the house down with heavy instru­ment­als and the type of flow that got every­one sweat­ing buck­ets rid­ing pul­ver­ising sound waves.  His music spoke with such pat­ri­ot­ism and show­cased an enorm­ous respect for women and his grat­it­ude for fam­ily. Nar­cy will be back but I may catch him on my next trip to Canada.

 Finally the pièce de résist­ance, the artists who has been cham­pi­on­ing social justice tour­ing the UK as part as his illus­tri­ous return, Lowkey hit the stage.  He came on with the same sin­cer­ity and humble­ness that came from every single act. He jumped into the crowd smil­ing doing his best to shake and meet every­one in the front row. Solid­i­fy­ing his sym­bol as the people’s cham­pi­on, he brought people up on stage and gave them a chance to recite the lyr­ics from his all time hits. Not to men­tion a lot of the open­ing per­formers where involved through­out Lowkey’s music with MIC Right­eous fea­tur­ing on ‘Revolu­tion’. Awa­te was right behind Lowkey on the decks and more asso­ci­ated acts were present. Mai Khalil and Asheber sung their heart out on the Ghost of Gren­fell song and yes we will get to that. A refresh­ing scene of fist raised, flags waved and big smiles. My per­son­al favour­ite was ‘My Soul’ from the ‘Soundtrack to the Struggle’. You can’t beat the chor­us sung live. Nos­tal­gia and lib­er­a­tion shook the room with Lowkey deliv­er­ing all expect­a­tions over Boom Bap head bangers and intim­ate acous­tics.

 Con­clus­ively, the entire night col­lect­ively led to one of the most mov­ing per­form­ances I have ever wit­nessed. The entire ven­ue com­mem­or­ated the tra­gic incid­ent at Gren­fell towers with its icon­ic heart sur­round­ing the name. If I am review­ing a per­form­ance, I spend the major­ity of the gig in the crowd front row with every­body so I can get a genu­ine per­spect­ive. For some reas­on, this is the occa­sion; I decided to hang out in the back­ground on stage. I wanted to be among­st the per­formers rep­res­ent­ing the magazine with keep grat­it­ude for this song. Little did we know; that with all the cal­ib­re per­formers, it was the audi­ence that stole the show. The voice for the voice­less became one and people col­lect­ively poured out every drop of their des­pair they had that night.  Last thing I saw was teary and among­st many, we wiped our eyes and took a breath to gather what we just wit­nessed. I made my way back­stage in hopes of meet­ing Lowkey and all the oth­er tal­ents and I arrived in a room where every­one was embra­cing each oth­er. The per­formers where phys­ic­ally and emo­tion­ally drained but still man­aged to talk to and shake the hands of every­one who came through. All and all it was a once in a life­time per­form­ance. If it hap­pens again, you best be there.

Foot­age & Pho­to­graphy by Sulei­man Yusuf.

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SIRE

SIRE

Emcee, Radio Host, Journ­al­ist and Hip Hop junkie unwill­ing to go to rehab! Lon­don is my home and if there is a live per­form­ance cham­pi­on­ing the Hip Hop cul­ture, you’ll hear from me on what I think and you’ll prob­ably catch me there doing back­flips among­st Boom Bap sounds. Banging through your radio waves, check me on West­side 89.6 FM on The Hip Hop Back In The Day Show and on Reprezent Radio 107.3 FM on The Big Bang Show with DJ J HART. I’m here to pre­serve the cul­ture, add to it and bring you that UK fla­vour aswell. Fol­low me on @reignofsire.

About SIRE

SIRE
Emcee, Radio Host, Journalist and Hip Hop junkie unwilling to go to rehab! London is my home and if there is a live performance championing the Hip Hop culture, you’ll hear from me on what I think and you’ll probably catch me there doing backflips amongst Boom Bap sounds. Banging through your radio waves, check me on Westside 89.6 FM on The Hip Hop Back In The Day Show and on Reprezent Radio 107.3 FM on The Big Bang Show with DJ J HART. I’m here to preserve the culture, add to it and bring you that UK flavour aswell. Follow me on @reignofsire.