It is fair to say Rejjie’s Cambridge based fans had been waiting a long time for this gig. With an inconvenient reschedule delaying potential carnage in March, it felt as if everyone was twice as hyped for this date and ready for the uncharacteristic, for Cambridge, Saturday night chaos. The unusually warm and sunny April weather complemented the tunes off of the Dublin Rapper’s euphoric debut album, which he proceeded to play most of throughout the night.
Before the 24 year old graced the stage, Ebenezer and Slowthai provided a perfectly composed warm up, teasing the audience with their individual sounds. Personally, I was extremely excited to see Slowthai. In terms of 2018 breakthrough rappers, nothing has topped his blend of experimental grime and swagger filled lyrics. The snarling angst that encroaches on tunes like ‘North Nights’ and ‘T N Biscuits’ created a riotous atmosphere and sent the pissed teens in attendance into a proper frenzy.
After a brisk 15 minutes of attempting to recover from the Northampton rapper’s set, Rejjie Snow came storming on stage to ‘Hello’ and ‘Rainbows’. As chilled out as these songs are, with unexplainable reasoning, the crowd proceeded to divide and create the first of many mosh pits. Blending the low-fi hits off Dear Annie with oldies but goldies ‘Blakkst Skin’ and ‘1992’ made the set near on perfect. The only minor disappointment, for me, was he didn’t play ‘Snow (my rap song)’ but even then this would have felt out of place in the narrative of the set.
Cambridge hasn’t been blessed with a gig like this in a while. There is a huge demand for hip hop artists coming to the city and so it is nice to see The Junction venturing out and booking more acts like this.
After selling out 2 intimate Electric Brixton shows in under 2 hours, Mac was back in London with two dates at the venues big brother Brixton Academy. Claiming that he hates the size of the venues he plays now, Demarco was about to step up to his biggest London show to date, the demand being so high that another day had to be added.
With a new album out, the multi talented singer/song writer and producer had new material on top of the classics we have seen in ‘Salad Days’ and breakout record ‘2’. This was the only place anyone would be able to catch Mac this year in England; this excitement channeled throughout the crowd of sweaty teenagers. The temple like walls of Brixton Academy suited the god like stature Mac has been given by his fans; they were about to witness a gig like no other.
Kicking off with the infamous ‘Salad Days’, Mac proceeded to play a hyperactive set; his personality almost hamster like as he scurried from one side of the stage to the other chewing through his groovy guitar riffs. Having family watching you may daunt some artists but not the Duncan born lad, he set up a table for his Cousins and friends on the stage, as well as inviting them to sing Vanessa Carlton’s 1000 miles. For anyone else this would have been cheesy but Mac just has a knack that makes anything seem okay.
‘My Kind OF Woman’ and ‘Ode to Viceroy’ featured, with ‘For The First Time’ and ‘Chamber Of Reflection’ giving the audience an excuse for a good old synthy jive. It was a great mixture of the Artist’s discography and with the chaos caused by his crowd surfing and Vans chucking, it is safe to say it was a night neither Mac or his fans will be forgetting.
Mac Demarco headlines End of the Road Festival this August/September.
For the past year or so, I have been dying to see the Wytches. So when they announced that they would be playing at Cambridge’s finest pub The Portland Arms, I had to get down there. Blessing us with their divine blend of distorted psychedelics and shuddery lyrics, the 4-piece tore down the beer dampened walls of the venue.
But first was Wierds, a band that I hadn’t really heard of but knew would be half decent if they were supporting the Wytches. I have to say I was blown away by their raw energy and echoing effects, it was like nothing I’ve heard of before and definitely shocked the speechless crowd. They have an album coming out in May, which will be worth a listen considering singles like ‘Phantom’ and ‘Valley Of Vision’ are gaining some much deserved attention from stations like Beats Radio.
Next on were of course the Wytches, who played to a packed out Portland crowd that were more than up for a riot. Kicking off with Gravedweller, an absolute classic on their behalf, the energy never really stopped, with the crowd loving the belters on their ‘All Your Happy Life’ album, as well as ‘Annabel Dream Reader’, and even bloody brilliant b-sides like ‘Darker’ and ‘Holy Tightrope’. It was a surprise to see them play such a varied set in this sense but I couldn’t have asked for a better selection, they powered through the tracks, giving the audience little rest.
I got the impression that the crowd hadn’t witnessed something as raucious as this in a while, which made them even more up for the gig. The energy from the band pulsated to the audience, the lad’s hair covering their eyes as they shredded through the numerous guitar riffs they offer. It was a great night and one that the Portland Arms won’t forget in a while.
I also have an interview coming with them soon so be sure to check that out.
Whenever I see Slaves there is a unique atmosphere, the kind of vibe that would only surround one of the most important British bands over the past few years. In the space of an annum they have gone from playing a tiny pub, called the Portland Arms, in Cambridge to the biggest venue the city has to offer. Adding to everyone’s pure ecstasy to see the duo, we were treated by two up and coming English punk bands called ‘Life’ and ‘Shame’ who did more than warm up an emphatic crowd.
Kicking off with ‘Shame’, a band with the swagger of The Fat White Family, the outfit took me by surprise. I had never really checked out the 5 piece but I sure will be over the next few days as they soared through a visceral live set with the pressure of supporting Slaves evidently never phasing them. Over the last few weeks ‘Shame’ have debuted a couple of tracks in ‘Gold Hole’ and ‘The Lick’ and if they don’t make you want to go and see the South London band then I don’t know what will.
By the time ‘Life’ came on, the venue was already rammed with Punks, Skinheads and Indies; despite evidently making punk bangers Slaves have a versatile following and the main support lived up to this as well as any band would. Their performance was gritty and the snarling tone of Mez’s vocals enhanced the sweaty aroma of the audience.
This was the 7th time I had seen Slaves and, as cliché as it sounds, this was by far the best I had seen them. With new material from recent release ‘Take Control’ Isaac and Laurie had a setlist rich in absolute belters, they played their classics, like ‘Cheer Up London’ and ‘The Hunter’, but personally the tracks that sent me into madness were ‘Same Again’ and ‘People That You Meet’. You just can not fault the raw energy of the Kent based lads, they powered through a triumphant headline show, looking down upon a sea of moshers and dedicated crowd surfers that gave the security a hell of a night. Finishing with the lead single from their new LP, ‘Spit It Out’ topped off an amazing night and one that I will not be forgetting for a while. Go and check out the support acts latest releases and of course Slaves’ unbelievable new album ‘Take Control‘.
Getting Jamie T tickets all the way back in July meant that it was only this week that it hit me I was going to witness one of the best live performers to come out of the UK in recent years. With a new album under his belt and The Wytches as part of the package I was anticipating a storming night, and it truly was.
Kicking off with the Wytches, the band slammed through 30 minutes of their most thrashing tunes, including the likes of ‘Gravedweller’ and new thunder bolt ‘Ghost House’, which is my favourite cut from ‘All Your Happy Life’. Both the new and the old tracks were fairly well received, how can you not enjoy 4 long haired lads head banging and busting out grungy riffs? However at points I felt as if the crowd didn’t give them the reception they deserved but for me, who was just as thrilled to be watching The Wytches as Jamie T, it was a brilliant performance and one that’s edged me even closer to buying a ticket for their upcoming tour.
Next up was the infamous Jamie T who had a crowd surprisingly varied in age. From 17 year olds to 30 year olds to even 50-60 year olds, there was a true variation in generations but the one similarity we all had was we all went absolutely mental for the Wimbledon born boy. Setting the bar with new track ‘Power Over Men’, the most popular song from ‘Trick’, the audience were up for it throughout. ‘Tescoland’ and ‘Tinfoil Boy’ were equally as well received from the new LP but of course it was the classics like ‘British Intelligence’ and ‘Sticks and Stones’ that summoned a riot at the Corn Exchange. Everyone belted out the ballads too, my personal favourite being ‘Don’t You Find’. Adding to this, the light show was amazing, with glaring spotlights descending onto Treays’ body making him look like a haunting silhouette.
After being ill only a week or so ago I just cannot believe how good a performer Jamie T was. This had to be one of my favourite gigs of the year and one I won’t forget. If you ever have the chance to see either Jamie T or The Wytches live be sure to grab the opportunity because otherwise it will be a decision you’ll regret.
Want to see a clip of Jamie T live? Just click below.