Saturday evening we touch base in central London and were outside Barbican estate lol, from the outside prior to seeing the theatre’s branding it makes Aylesbury estate look like Buckingham Palace. Yet how real was mum’s saying that ‘true beauty lies on the inside’ because little did we know that the Barbican was hosting history that night.
Once we entered the Barbican it was clear to see that the Urban Weekender had gone down a treat, imagine walls around your ends with digital graffiti #itsamadness
We were fortunate to catch a performance from George The Poet and we bumped into the beautiful Ayanna who reassured us that we were in for something special.
Mistajam introduced composer Jules Buckley and from that point on the 80 piece BBC Symphony Orchestra made it clear they had brought their ‘A’ game. I was seated next to woman in her late 60’s who had no doubt the 80 piece orchestra would rise to the occasion so I guess the pressure was on the “urban” acts.
So bring on Fazer who seemed to be emotionally touched by the occasion, came out in black shades and a leather jacket to the background of aluminous yellow lights. His heart felt performances which included him on the live piano. The N-Dubz vet was followed by Skepta in his red addidas tracksuit followed in maintaining the levels high, as did Dynamite and Devlin.
The 2nd half of the evening saw Boy Blue’s Kenrick “H2o” Sandy personify the orchestral strings in his magnetic, artificial intelligence like movement, maneuvering across the stage like he owned it.
After experiencing Kenny’s physical athleticism the audience were left on the edge of their seats like we were on the Trango Towers witnessing a monk who had perfected his craft. The 64 bar onslaught was then followed by a performance of the timeless ‘London City’. Despite Devlin’s commercial success last night illustrated that he is a true ambassador of grime, other artists take note!!
Skepta’s performance of ‘Rescue Me’ highlighted that his flow and delivery is one of the best business. Clear and concise he managed to strike an emotional connection with the audience. The minute I heard, ‘Shorty llow it, BBK, Monday to Sunday BBK…’ the place erupted and all of a sudden and the lady in her late 60’s let her shoulders go and put her in motion. I haven’t felt a vibe like this since Rumble and Stampede 2001, I had to remind myself that I was at the Barbican. Shorty, Frisco, JME and Skepta BBK were at home and the woman to my right shouted “replay”, I was thinking ‘may be jackum, wheel up, reload but replay its deeper than that!’ but either way we witnessed the orchestra get pulled up 3 times. Jules Buckley conducted that beautifully, the strings and percussion instruments was definitely a strong substitute for decks.
Ms Dynamite’s earlier performance of ‘Neva Soft’ was harmonious and of course the final track ‘Ms Dynamitee tee tee’ was a great execution of her classic track. But her most touching performance made everyone slip on their skanking shoes, jump out their seats and Wile Out!!! Ms Dynamite skanking like rastaman to the melodic 80 piece orchestra, got 3 reloads!!
Fazer plus Ed Drewett’s performance of “Englishman in New York” was relaxing to the ear. Fazer swapped the leather hoodie for a sharp suit and told us of his ambitions to perform in Madison Square gardens and carry the flag higher than Slick Rick. Ed Drewett killed it on the vocals. The only critique of Fazer on the night by the woman to my right was that he should have showed off more of his talent on the piano. Fazer definitely brought the night to life.
The emotional dedication to Whitney Huston via Fazer and Skepta accompanied by a xylophone, performing Whitney’s memorable ‘It’s Not Right But It’s Okay’. It was fitting way to end the night but just when we thought this night couldn’t get any better; Skepta came out and told the audience the love he received via twitter and facebook. Then all we heard was ‘Shorty llow it, BBK, Monday to Sunday BBK…’ so you know tonight was a madness…
Quick shout out to Create, Bigga Fish, Rob Mullarkey, Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Jason Warde for their contribution to to the night.