I was scrolling through twitter and found an event which peaked my interest. It was called ‘The Urban Renaissance’ and it was curated by Bonkaz. Artist that he liked were put together to showcase the talents. I finished work early that day and figured that i’d make the short journey to the Southbank Centre to see what’s good.
Upon entering the hall, after entering about 3 other places in the area looking for this particular hall, the DJ was playing Summertime and everyone was in good spirits. People were bringing chairs from the cafe area and setting up a front row at the stage. I made sure I got a good spot.
The first up was Renz. Renz previously made a project with Bonkaz called ‘No Boys Allowed’ so it seemed fitting that he would ask Renz to perform. I’ve seen him perform many times and he is normally full of hype and energy. This was different. He was calmer. He later explained the reason for this. “I’m normally 100% more energetic than this. But I’ve got a cold. I’m sick guys. Sorry”. Even with Renz being under the weather, he still delivered a vocal performance which was quite close to the original material. His music is smooth and honest.
Next up was a singer and acoustic guitarist. I love acoustics performances. There’s something raw about them. You feel like your there during the creation of the song.
When RayBLK walked on stage, her confidence was evident. Thankfully, her voice was clear and had some power behind it. She embraced her woman desires on her first song and captured the crowd. Everyone was engaged to what when was expressing and the well played notes of the guitar brought everything together. I’ll be looking for new music from her in the future.
There was a little break and I noticed someone I recognised in the wings. This artist has been getting a lot of love from people but more surprising is the love he gets from his fellow artists. Every from Wretch32 to Bonkaz is speaking about this guy which is why A2 was chosen to perform today. There were a few technical difficulties when setting up. Something about the CD not working. Personally, I don’t know why people still use CDs at sets like these. Every DJ uses a laptop so it would be better to use a usb key with the files. flash drive don’t scratch. Anyway, I digress. A2 is like a UK rap crooner. Rapping honest lyrics really calm and smooth so that you hear every word clearly. He’s telling you exactly how he feels whether it be about girls or money. There’s a air of self awareness and confidence around A2 and it showed in his performance.
Next up was an artist named J Warner. Prior to him walking on stage, my friend saw me shooting and came over. She seemed quite excited to watch J Warner perform. I haven’t seen him live before but she assured me that i’m in for a treat. She wasn’t wrong. J Warner came out swinging. Showing his vocal skills from the get go. Strong and loud. He demanded attention using his voice as a battle cry for the subjects he was singing about. I was impressed and i’m definitely going to check out his music. After another short break I saw a guitarist I recognised walk on stage start to setup. From then I knew who was the next performer.
I first saw Kojey Radical perform over 3 years ago at an event called ‘Collision’. That was my first event with a camera in my hand. From then until now, he continues to impress me. Performing well known material had a few people in the crowd mouthing along. But it was when he performed he own version of the chorus of the famous song by Minnie Ripperton ‘Loving You’ that had the crowd trying to reach the highest of notes. He had the crowd smiling and laughing. Then, he hit them with ‘Preacher Preacher’. This song always stops people in their tracks and forces them to think about what he is expressing. It is a very powerful song.
He also performed some new music. It was an energetic performance and it had the crowd moving in their seats. If even got a reload request from some very vocal people in the back.
All in all, the event was a success.
Bonkaz chose a great selection of artist who carried their own and showcased their skills to a crowed who mostly didn’t know who they were. But, at the end, I believe they gain more supporters than when they arrived. @CourtneyFPhoto