Thursday 26th June saw the ‘pre-launch’ showcase of exciting new company BookaBeat. Founded by stylish sisters Makeda and Naomi Peter, BookaBeat launches officially in September and will be an online platform from which musical acts can be booked for events, and the talent on their books will be high, if this event is anything to go by.
Sometimes you walk into a venue and the vibe is so spot on it hits you immediately. Such was the case upon entering Madame JoJo’s for BookaBeat’s evening, the DJ was cutting some amazing tracks and the atmosphere between the everyone so positive it was inspiring.
Hosted by the cute and colourful Miss Baby Sol, who perfectly hyped the crowd with witty interaction, the evening’s music kicked off with Irish solo artist Moncrieff. Backed by a fantastic band including a trumpet and saxophone, Moncrieff filled the room with his powerfully soulful voice. Singing an impressive collection of original material, Moncrieff soured up and down the octaves with ease, his tone often reminiscent of ‘Strickland Banks’ era Plan B.
The second act to play was acoustic duo ‘Peter & Kerry’, who impressed beyond belief. Playing a set of original material and ending with a haunting cover of Chris Issacs’ ‘Wicked Game’, the pair enchanted the audience with their mellifluous sound and poignant lyrics. Both talented musicians, Peter amd Kerry really work well together as a duo, they’re vocal and guitar lines winding around each other’s perfectly.
The final act on stage was UK rapper Speech Debelle, winner of the 2009 Mercury Music Prize for debut album ‘Speech Therapy’. Having been off the live circuit for a while, working on soon to be released third album, the performance marked a welcome return to the live stage for one of the UKs finest contemporary rappers.
Kicking off her set with the infectious ‘Studio Backpack Rap’, Speech took no time to get into her stride, delivering intricate rhyme patterns with incredible ease. The remainder of the set consisted of tracks from both of her previous albums including sing-a-long Spinnin’ and the painfully emotive Elephant, as well as two new tracks, one of which, ‘Happy’, was a real instant-pleaser and adds to the anticipation for Speech’s third album.
A real highlight of the set was Speech being joined on stage by fellow rapper and collaborator ‘Realism’ for their track ‘Blaze Up a Fire’. There is a really strong creative chemistry between these two artists and witnessing them together live is always an awesome experience.
Finishing her set with the atmospheric ‘Sun Dog’, the band (bass, keys, drums and Miss Baby Sol on backing vocals) swelling dramatically behind Speech’s increasingly poignant vocal to create an epic sonic experience, left the audience hungry for more.
The evening was a great experience, showcasing some real talent and giving us a real treat in the form of Speech Debelle’s set. BookaBeat looks set to be an exciting company and if this showcase at Madame JoJo’s is anything to go by, they already have getting the vibe right down to an art.
Photography by : Ashleigh Ashley
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