I had two tickets. One for myself and the other for Phillip; a German economics student come graphic-designer who I share a desk with at work. Tonight was to be his first grime show and as we barrelled down the Northern Line towards Camden I prepped him with a Grime 101. The crowd, the reloads and if we were lucky; who to expect as special guests. “What’s the energy like?” “Ohh yeah. Plenty of that.”
Ten minutes later; around seven in the evening, we’re tapping through the barriers at Mornington Crescent and staring up at the brightly-lit KOKO sign that brands itself on the evening sky like the Bat signal in deepest darkest Gotham. The stench of weed immediately smacks my nose. A line already snakes around the block. Excited murmurs. Cunning queue-cutters talking down the phone. “Where abouts are you mate?” “Bruv, I’m gonna meet you by the smoking area.”
Ten past, we’re inside. Phillip heads to the toilet and I grab a beer; Desperados, London prices. He comes back and opts for a Foster. Then we stand on the edge of the crowd. Two hours before Stormzy’s slated set time and its half-filled already.
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The warm up DJ is playing rap and grime. I finish off my beer, Phillip sips at his and we observe in silence. A final moment of peace before the soldiers are sent over the trenches, soon to be mowed down by a flurry of flailing arms that scatter like machine guns and violent mosh pits knocking you off balance like the impact of heavy mortar shells. Phillip finishes his beer, asks where to put the plastic cup. Toss it to the floor I tell him "like a true British gig goer."
Amongst silent frustrated glares and a litter of ‘excuse me mate’s and ‘mind out’s we push as close as possible to the front. Just in time for the first opening act. We’re to the right of the stage, under the balconies and penned in with a flock of loud girls.
My first mistake was refusing to dump my jacket in the cloakroom like everybody else. The second was a light t-shirt. Two songs in and I’m a sweaty mess. Phillip smiles at me crassly, he looks cool, dry. The heat is suffocating, everyone else is suffering. Hundreds of us sweltering, heads glistening, t-shirts soaked through, slipping and skidding on beer varnished floor.
Mostack is the second opener. Big black shades and a blue Adidas jacket; half-singing half-rapping about disloyal friends and family ties.’ “I’ll shoot my dad for my mumma!” Crude but enjoyable. The girls in front of us scream. Gun fingers go up. The crowd heaves and moves instinctively, in sync like a shoal of cod roaming the depths of the North Seas. Left. Right. Back. Forward. I’m precariously shoved close to the far wall. Slip through some bodies to avoid getting crushed. Where was Phillip? Panic! Thinking about the guilt that would riddle me if he succumbed to a stampede during his first Grime set.
I turn to my left. He’s there. Can’t decipher the lyrics but swaying with the shoal nonetheless. More heat. More sweat. My shirt can’t be salvaged. Timid blue to a thick-dark mat, as if I’d jumped into a pool fully clothed.
Venue staff are worried now. Some appear on stage. Two burly guys in all black observing the muddled mess of sweat ridden bodies. They whisper to the DJ to relay a message through his. “Guys” he starts, “the energy is great but you need to calm it down a bit.” Swiftly ignored. I’m enjoying myself now. My induction is over. I’m part of the family, the pit is mine. Mostack continues, I join in. “One shot for my enemies.” BOOM! *loud crackling shot gun shell* cackles rumbles through the room. “Two for my frenemies!” BOOM. “Pour all your Hennessey!” BOOM BOOM!
Mostack finishes. The DJ appeals for more calm. Ignored yet again. Ninety minutes have passed. More taxing than Saturday league football though. A white screen descends and blocks half the stage from view. Bonkaz plays in the background. We wait expectantly like pie-eating season ticket holders in windy terraces before a game. It’s suffocating and dark. I glare enviously at the guy in front of me, stretched well over six feet. The shadows of moving figures can be seen through the white screen.
I turn around and look up at the balcony. Rafters packed; even in the bleachers. Little Simz, Loyle Carner, and Sian Anderson all in attendance. The entire scene has come out. The screen begins to raise. Howls and yelps. Phones are scooped from pockets. Snapchat and Instagram loaded up. Crap! My phone! Panicked pat down. It’s teetering on the edge of my left pocket.
I shove it back into place and remove my watch and bracelets and place them in the opposite pocket. The screen is raised. Stormzy sat on a gold-lined throne like he were the King of Westeros. He’s rapping. Not sure what, it’s impossible to tell. Screams are overbearing. He’s casually dressed. Skin fade, big full smile. Grey tracksuit –Adidas of course.
He stands and rolls into his set. 'Nigo Duppy' then 'On My Own'. Cuts for the most devoted fans. He talks some more. Inaudible again. “London….my hometown…..special for me.”‘Trapping Ain’t Dead’ hums through the speakers. Section Boyz trundle onto stage. The pit caves in on itself. “015 here everyting ah get lock arf!!” Bedlam. Chaos in a burning pit of ecstasy.
Phillip and I are separated. I scan the cauldron. Mid-sized guy with blonde hair and a white t shirt. Could be anywhere. Stormzy asks if he can talk to the ladies for a moment. Baritone groans rumble from the throats of all those with an Adams apple. Swiftly drowned out by the hysterical shrieks of the female contingent. He does a few songs from the ladies. I welcome the down time. Catch my breath, mop my brow with my coat. Check my possessions and my arms for any blood.
Time out is over. ‘Not That Deep,’ erupts. The track that got the ball rolling; set him on the course from freestyles in the park to tours in Australia and then back again. We await that line like an EDM drop. Sparks of eagerness….“Never had a whip, never had Ps for a cab, couple man paid me short”….Empty circles form in the middle of the pit like craters. Brewing for another riot…. “Then I hit a lick, gave man food on the tick, couple man paid me short.”…I’m on the edge of two circles…Pick one. Left; no right. Away from the wall….“Caught him in West, he was tryna buy some creps…beat him up in JD SPORTS!!”
The familiar scent of anarchy and rage rushes back. Head rush. The circle collapses and the floor disappears; lost to the hooves of the possessed. A moist arm smacks me in the face and slides down my cheek. Then a girl stumbles, overwhelmed by the surge. All social norms are removed.
Things continue down this thorny path for the next ninety minutes; each hitch and turn edging us further away from KOKO norms. Lethal B arrives, then Chip, then Krept and Konan. 'Shut Up' into The Wickedskengman series. Classic grime riddims. 'Rhythm n Gash'. 'Pied Piper'. We’re past strangers now. We’ve seen too much, been intimately meshed for too many hours. JME arrives. 'Man Don’t Care', followed by Giggs. Delirium prolonged.
The big finale is here. Where Do You Know Me From reloaded four times. I look back at the crowd, Phillip is lost somewhere in the mess rattling with foreigners who have become family. One final reload. “I do not know this don….WHERE DO YOU KNOW ME FROM WHERE DO YOU KNOW ME FROM.” A final rebellion. Then it’s over. Relief –we survived. Despair –it’s finished. The best time of your life.
Friday morning. Phillip plumps himself at his desk and exhales a deep long breath. His hair is unusually shagged and his eyes slightly red. He looks flushed and groggily rubs his face with one hand. He clings to a cup of coffee with the other. He had mutinied during the finale, looking to find refuge in the bleachers, only to discover more of the same when he got there.
“One of the best shows I’ve been to,” he croaks. “I would like to go to more grime events.”
Sadly, I explain to him, I don’t think there will be another like it.
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Words: Aniefiok Ekpoudom (@AniefiokEkp)
‘Reinventing California’, it could be the title of some West Coast specific makeover show or even perhaps a post-grad’s paper on the state’s social matters; instead it’s the moniker awarded to Publish Brand’s latest hook up with footwear heavyweight, Timberland.
The new, exclusive Publish x Timberland collaboration sees the self defined ‘casual, yet intelligently sophisticated’ Cali based brand partner up for a capsule collection of revised men’s silhouettes.
Boasting both Chelsea and Oxford models, the petite line-up pushes two colourways, one sand coloured the other black, marrying contemporary influences with classic aesthetics.
Dropping later this month, the boots redefine the more traditional Timberland boot game (notably the iconic 6” premium style), here instead inspired by West Coast lifestyle, culture, landscape and architecture; naturally the premium element is retained.
Pope Francis has shared a new track from his forthcoming rock album.
The LP was announced earlier this year, with 'Wake Up!' set to be released on November 27th. The title track is already online, with His Holiness now sharing another preview.
'¿Por qué sufren los ninos?' translates as 'Why Do Children Suffer?', and it's an orchestral rock piece featuring a Latin hymn alongside a recording of a speech the Pope gave speech at St. Thomas University in the Philippines.
There's probably not a lot here for non-believers – the arrangement is tame, and rather un-diverting – but it's curiosity value is undeniable. And, of course, for the Catholic readers amongst us this represents a rather historic moment.
Check out '¿Por qué sufren los ninos?' below.
"On this album there's less songs about relationships I had with girls in high school because that was what the old stuff was about and I understand why we have many teenage girls into the music. This is definitely different, the lyrics are a lot different. They're not just based on relationships and day-to-day boo-hoo problems like that," Jesse Rutherford, tells Clash.
The shift in lyrical content isn't the only transformation The Neighbourhood have made on their new album 'Wiped Out!', which is their first album since their 2013 debut 'I Love You' that they also released on Columbia Records. The debut blended doom-laden hip hop beats, haunted atmospherics and a mostly sung pop vocal that harnessed the energy of a rock band or rap. This time around, however, they've stepped up their game and created a whole new sound that feels like a new vitalised horizon for the band. There's brighter melodies, intricate atmospheric soundscapes, reverb-soaked guitar tones and walls of bass that crash in and out. Meanwhile, R&B and rock influence Jesse's moody vocals which sit in the mix beautifully. It's a complex musical piece yet fiercely direct lyrically.
This is welcome sonic progress and the lyrical shift – which though still autobiographical – sees the shedding of his youthful naivety and a coming of age. Subsequently, a broader audience awaits these teenage icons, or at least Jesse is hoping so as he has a restless ambition to grow the band's following. "It's a little weird because some fans go so..SO crazy but I feel it's such a small section of the world that goes crazy like that. There's so many other people who have no clue who we are," says the 24 year old Californian frontman in a way that implies he has unfinished business.
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Fortunately, all the assets are there for him to go forward. However, the work that has gone on behind the scenes hasn't happened without any struggle. Notably, they didn't finish the album as quickly as they would have wanted to. "It took a while to make the album. Firstly, we rented this house in Malibu that was really cool but the album didn't get finished there but some ideas came out of there. Then we went to a studio in Santa Monica where we did all our other shit before this album before finally landing at our bassist Zach's mum's place which is where it all came together. It was a pretty simple set up just living room kind of shit but it was really nice, really comfy," he says reminiscing fondly.
The house and makeshift studio he is referring to was near the community where he grew up, and where the band formed, is a scenic place in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains called Newbury Park. Medical marijuana around here is big business and although we don't delve too deep into a discussion about the influence of it on his music, he remarks: "I smoked a few blunts with Danny Brown when we were on tour together". The community though, whether weed was involved or not, has definitely been a fantastic launch pad for the band, and he feels grateful for growing up there.
"I always knew I wanted to do it (get signed) and I thought coming from the area I came from I didn't really have much of an excuse to not be able to do it. I think there are a lot of opportunities in this pretty privileged area and a lot of people don't believe they can do things like what we do now – get singed to a label and tour the world," he says as he is waking up from spending the night travelling from Vancouver to Seattle.
Landing in the place he's set his ambition toward reflects a lot about how driven Jesse Rutherford, who founded the group, is. Impressively he manifests this energy on stage too: "I want to express myself through songs in the way I feel I should. I'm kind of a loud in your face kind of person so when I'm on stage it's the same thing,' he says while yawning from just waking up making it difficult to feel that intense side of him.
However, having seen The Neighbourhood live at Reading Festival last year, we can safely say his charisma translates to the bigger stages incredibly well. But Jesse tells us they've only just begun to get to the level they're happy with on stage. "With the production and everything going on stage, there's so much that could go wrong. I just said to the boys two weeks into a five week tour that I'm getting the hang of it," – reassuring to know ahead of their tour in November across Europe.
With this tour in mind, seeing them is an opportunity to see a new band who are actually carving out their own sound and evading pastiche habits that prevail throughout a lot of the industry. So when Jesse says: "I don't believe we sound like anybody else. So many people are getting giant because of a sound that already happened generations ago and it's being brought back," we feel he makes a very justifiable point. This is new music that you can't quite put your finger on, it's the sound of The Neighbourhood carving out a path of their own that we're happy to journey down.
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Words: Cai Trefor
The Neighbourhood's new album 'Wiped Out!' is out now.
Scottish promoters/party throwers/music lovers Detour are set to toast their sixth anniversary with a series of special events.
Detour were formed six years ago, a pair of music fans and close friends who were eager to see their favourite bands play in some unexpected places.
Since then, Detour have thrown all kinds of parties, neatly side-stepping the decline of small venues but utilising all manner of impromptu spaces.
Reaching the ripe of old of six – almost old enough to buy a pint in Paisley, y'know – Detour have organised Sixfest, a series of parties running throughout November.
Much of the details are being kept under wraps, but you can register for tickets HERE.
Detour's Sixfest anniversary parties run between November 23rd – 28th.
MAKENESS hails from the Outer Hebrides, but is now based in London.
There's still a taste of the Scottish isles in his music, however. Techno music's short, repeated phrasing is viewed through an outsider lens, the wide open spaces of his youth re-emerging in the imagination.
A new EP is incoming, with MAKENESS placing new cut 'Rogue' online. It's a fascinating offering – moving from glitch electronics to a funky bass, the slight syncopations are reminiscent of a crofter's reel filtered through tomorrow's technology.
MAKENESS explains: "I made this track in winter in a stone barn in Scotland in the middle of nowhere. I was in between places at the time which I think comes across in the music; the idea of having two realities clashing and not being able to work out which one is real. The track feels like a physical journey to me and I wanted to reflect this movement in the video."
Check out the video for 'Rogue' below.
MAKENESS will release his new EP on November 9th.
“I was inspired by muted scenery of back alley of New York City,” offers menswear designer Woo Young Mi of her latest collaboration with Mr Porter.
“Precisely Jean-Michel Basquiat and his graffiti works,” she continues. “Collection encapsulates Basquiat’s mood and tone of painting. Scribbles have become simplified and melted into Wooyoungmi’s relaxed tailoring. I wanted collection to be complete wardrobe for Basquiat.”
This is the second time the creative director – and the Korean label – have hooked up with the ecomm platform, having initially joined forces back in June.
The 12-piece line-up (a wallet concludes the above picks) marries sports elements with ready to wear, borrowing notes from the label’s mainline AW15 collection such as colour and silhouettes.
Dropping this month, a focus on the late New York artist extends specifically to graphics on tees and jumpers while elsewhere pieces are connected by a dark colour palette.
After a handful of releases on the mighty Crazylegs (who recently dropped the quite frankly ridiculous 'just a lil' by djj), "smiling assassin" Ziro makes his return with a new five-tracker that sees London city warlord Riko Dan guest on 'Dun Talk' and Bloom pop up on 'Strafe'.
The Bristol boyo has crafted a release that's an essential for any bass music fan, and we're pleased to premiere 'Distance', right here – a bristling slice of weightless grime that comes packed with emotion.
Take a listen:
Crazylegs releases 'Lionheart' on October 30th.
Words: Felicity Martin
Smoke Fairies are set to release new album 'Wild Winter' on November 20th.
Mid-winter has a peculiar atmosphere, a taste or flavour that other points of the year seem to lack. It's something Smoke Fairies have been drawn to, and something that fuels their next statement.
New album 'Wild Winter' arrives on November 20th, with the collective drawing inspiration from the year's darkest, most barren months. Smoke Fairies explain:
"We have a love/hate relationship with winter and the Christmas holiday. When it was suggested Smoke Fairies make a Christmas album, the last thing we wanted to do was make a classic, jolly, celebratory album that can only be played once a year. Sometimes winter provides us with a sense of togetherness and love, and sometimes it leaves us feeling alienated, cold and playing a glockenspiel alone in a darkened room. It's part of the year that will always be bittersweet and wild. This was the inspiration behind the record."
Produced by Kristofer Harris at Squarehead Studio in the Kentish countryside, the album even contains a Beefheart cover. Check out the title cut below:
'Wild Winter' is due to be released on November 20th. Tracklisting:
1. Christmas Without A Kiss
2. Steal Softly Thru Snow
3. 3 Kings
4. Give and Receive
5. Circles in The Snow
6. Bad Good
7. Wild Winter
8. Snowglobe Blizzard
9. So Much Wine
10. All Up In The Air
U2 invited Patti Smith out onstage at the O2 Arena in London last night (October 29th).
The Irish group are mid-way through a flurry of shows at the enormous venue, and previously brought out Noel Gallagher for a quick cameo role.
Easing themselves into 'Gloria', Patti Smith then appeared to jolt U2 into life. The punk-poet stayed onstage for a version of her classic anthem 'People Have The Power'.
Check out some fan footage below.