All Photos by @jamesnorthphoto
I’m not gonna lie both myself and Emily are still speechless! When you grow up listening to one of your idols and you eventually get to see them live, it’s the most amazing feeling. I personally remember being around seven when Kano released his album ‘Home Sweet Home’ – everyone knew the legendary song ‘P’s and Q’s’ (which I still listen to frequently). Kano is one of the pioneers of grime music; loved and respected by many within the scene and outside. Last summer, Kano released his new album entitled ‘Hoodies All Summer’ which along with the album he decided to do a tour. This album felt different; almost like spoken word put into song which I guess songs essentially are but it’s a lot deeper. He said in his interview with Julie Adenuga “Hoodies all summer is about inner city London and is an open dialogue and about keeping it real about what has happened and is currently happening. It’s a critical time with youth violence but it’s also a celebration of black success, the progress that was made last year and heritage progression.” He always comes across very intelligent and is very intellectual. We were definitely buzzing to see him live.
Unfortunately due to tube signal issues and road delays, we missed the beginning of support act Footsie but what we did catch was the best bit. We noticed he had the one and only Logan Sama on the decks which was pretty sick and was a perfect choice of DJ. We felt kinda sad as it wasn’t packed out yet but us and the people at the front kept the vibe going. Footsie brought out JME to perform with him and the crowd went mental. He played ‘Hard’ the song he was on as part of Newham Generals with D Double E ft David Rodigan.
There was just under half an hour inbetween Footsie’s set and Kano coming out and loads of people milled in to take their spots for the headline set. During this time there seemed to be garage and bassline playing but it was way too quiet. Although myself and other people there love garage music, we just thought it was an odd fit for the interval. We personally feel grime tunes should’ve been playing to hype everyone up for Kano.
It’s always special going to any grime event (they’re always the sickest) because the media and government don’t want these events happening; it’s even been banned from being played in some venues due to the supposed ‘rowdiness’ they claim it brings. So shoutout to Drumsheds for hosting this event. Kano’s set was biblical. As the first few chords of ‘Free Years Later‘ opened the show, we heard a girl behind us say “this is going to be some spiritual sh*t” and we felt it too. Kano took us to the endz, to church and back again blessing us with as much of his 15 years worth of material that he could cram into 2 hours.; he brought the garage, grime and gospel vibes. His backdrop was his live orchestra including a gospel choir, percussion, strings, decks, keys, and brass band – and it looked as beautiful as it sounded.
We were truly able to appreciate Kano’s growth as an artist and an individual when your throwing up gun fingers to old bangers like ‘Ghetto Kyote Freestyle,’ ‘P’s & Q’s‘ and an orchestral version of ‘Nite Nite.’ He performed one of our personal favourites ‘Good Youts Walk Amongst Evil‘ and you could feel the emotion and that he was connecting with a lot of youths. We know we weren’t the only ones in the room that could have shed a tear drop when he sung ‘Teardrop.’ When Kano performed ‘Trouble‘ he had Darcus Howe RIP, who he has speaking at the beginning of the song, visually put on the screen speaking from an interview.
Bringing out Newham General D Double E and Ghetts for ‘Class of Deja‘ – their energy is unrivalled!!! People’s feet weren’t touching the floor for a couple seconds and the mosh pits started (still don’t think mosh pits should have come to grime); we were very happy that song didn’t get reloaded as there was TOO much energy. Kano thanked D Double and said, “I doubt I would would even be on that stage if it wasn’t for him.” We were reminded that tonight we were really part of their journey and a part of history in the making. It was such a sick moment and we hoped every other grime legend was gonna come out and grace the stage but he didn’t need them to do an amazing set. He also performed songs from his ‘Made in the Manor‘ and the crowd went nuts when ‘GarageSkankFreestyle‘ and ‘3 Wheel-ups.’ Hearing a choir with orchestra singing ‘SYM‘ (suck your mother) to everyone that needed to hear it was epic; shedding light and love and for the Post Windrush victims, being a voice against police brutality within the black community, youth rebellion against the government, gang crime but ultimately showing his love for his hometown.
Kano’s lyrical delivery was impeccable. The band was roaring and so was he but you could hear bar for bar as clear as listening to it through your headphones. An emotionally charged performance and performer that there ain’t enough superlatives for! Proving why he is one of the most important MC’s/Songwriters/Poets and a true legend in British music and an integral part of our culture. Two hours would never have been enough time to do his whole catalogue but what we did get was more than we expected. He was not lying when he said he would “come to the shubz and lengggggg it down!!!!” Also as if Kano wasn’t amazing enough already, he actually donated all of the bar money to Newham Community Services. Thank you to RMP and Good Machine PR. If you’ve never heard of Kano or listened to any of his music, I’d advise you to definitely go and check it out for yourself.