Live Recap: Clash Next Wave At Cafe Koko

A Cafe KOKO special starring Br3nya, Jaydonclover, Zakhar, BZ and DJ NICO...

To commemorate the launch of Spring Reign Issue 124, Clash returned to Cafe KOKO for our monthly Next Wave Live showcase.

Our ‘Next Wave’ live series is a hallowed event and incubator for artists the Clash team are tipping for breakthrough glory. The likes of Ashnikko, J Hus, Masego, Jarreau Vandal, Knucks, Big Zuu, Sampa The Great, Poppy Ajudha and Greentea Peng, have all previously graced the stage.

This time round Br3nya, BZ, Jaydonclover, Zakhar and DJ NICO kept us entertained, with host Liv West ushering in the evening’s entertainment.

West London’s Br3nya was our primetime performer. Mellifluously gliding between punchy bars and breezy hooks, Br3nya threads together tales of her Ghanaian heritage with the grit and grime of London living. Her forthcoming project – teased with the ode to aspiration, ‘Payday’ – is a mission statement for young black women who won’t compromise their agency.

BZ came to the fore when his infectious anthem ‘2 G’s’ featured on the penultimate season of Netflix sensation Top Boy. Since then, the Croydon rapper has expanded his repertoire with stylistically different sounds; the abrasive ‘Get Paid’ and the just-released ‘Shy’, a jazz-infused afrobeats collaboration with Killertunes. During his set, BZ teased his debut project due to land this summer.

Since releasing her debut project in 2020, Birmingham singer-songwriter Jaydonclover has consistently communicated a downtempo, evocative brand of RnB. Part of a Midlands contingent coming up as an alternative to a London-centric scene, Jaydonclover creates incense-burning soul that is lovelorn and sensual in nature; take signature song ‘I Wish You’, or the Bel Cobain-assisted ‘but my sister’, which features on last year’s ‘room service? volume one’.

Islington artist Zakhar is not afraid to tap into raw vulnerability with songs that speak to the precarity of youth. Possessing a voice that soars through ether, Zahkar released debut project ‘Scars On My Mind’ last year, an 8-track exploration of melodic rap and plaintive, piano-led mid-tempos. During his set, Zakhar invoked the balladeer within him, met with visceral feedback from the audience.

Finally, Clash favourite DJ NICO hit the decks for an expertly-curated set of classics and new bangers. The North Londoner’s mixes reflect the scenes and subcultures he grew up in, where hip-hop, Afrobeats and RnB run seamlessly alongside garage and grime.

Our next Next Wave showcase is on Thursday 18th May, with Berna, Lost Girl, G!ft and more, performing on the night. Sign up for free tickets here.

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