Kojey Radical review – a night of uncompromising elation

Jazz Cafe, LondonKojey Radical, Jazz Cafe, by Aaron Lee, 01 (1920x1080)When a concert ends with the performer hopping down from the stage to dance with their fans, you know it’s been a big night. And this week has been particularly big for rising wordsmith, Kojey Radical. The poet and rapper received two MOBO Awards nominations, and his celebratory spirit was overflowing at his sold-out Jazz Café show. Continue reading

Barbican Young Poets showcase 2016 – in photos


For the last eight years, poet, performer and teacher Jacob Sam-La Rose, has chosen a class of young people, aged 14 to 25, to take part in the Barbican’s poetry workshop series.

On Wednesday, March 23, the class of 2016 – who studied with Sam-La Rose and assistant tutor Rachel Long – showcased their work in front a live audience of family, friends and members of the UK spoken word community.

From meditations on loss, to unexpected tales of migration told through a brief history of vinegar, to thoughts on forgetting great ideas, and passages inspired by film imagery. What follows is a sample of the young poets who laid their hearts bare, lifted hopes and urged those present to think deeper about the world today. Continue reading

Lianne La Havas review – a plutonic performance from a shining star

Brixton Academy, LondonLianne La Havas, Brixton Academy, London, Dec 14, 2015, by Aaron Lee

Somewhere in the midst of touring her first album, and writing her second, Lianne La Havas’s popularity ballooned. At Brixton Academy, it was stretched to humongous proportions. “I’m trying very hard to remain calm,” La Havas whispered, as she gazed out at the thousands of faces that had assembled before her. Yet, not even the shrieks and exclamations of affection disrupted the singer from putting on a confident, spirited show to please more than her devotees. Continue reading

BBC Proms: Nils Frahm and AWVFTS review – an evening of alternative orchestral candour

Royal Albert Hall, London

It was as strange as it was humorous. Nils Frahm, the German composer and tonight’s second headline act for Prom 27, Late Night with BBC 6 Music, had retrieved a pair of toilet brushes and had begun using them to beat the strings of his open-topped grand piano. Yet, as is this virtuoso’s way, with each twang and tremble, an inquisitive rhythm took shape. Continue reading

Nick Brewer review – precocious grime coated with heart

The Victoria, LondonJP Cooper and Nick Brewer, The Victoria, Dalston, May 11, 2015, by Aaron Lee, 01 (1920x1080)Grime tempered with clean-cut affection, that’s the music of 25-year-old Nick Brewer. You only need glance at the dissimilar band of artists that jam with him – Stormzy, Ruby Maze, George the Poet, Naomi Scott – to begin to see a vocalist who isn’t your typical grime artist. He likes to change things up, do a number for the ladies, maybe follow a rat-tat-tat cipher with some tweaked dance-hip-hop, or recite a poem. Continue reading

Barney Artist review – wisecracks and animated hip hop

The Victoria, LondonBarney Artist, Victoria, Dalston, May 11, 2015, Aaron Lee, 01 (1920x1080)If any music writers have already wheeled out a lazy comparison between Barney Artist and Barney the dinosaur, congratulations on a thoroughly uninspiring joke. Because if Barney Artist has anything in common with a children’s TV character, it’s not a purple dinosaur: it’s Kel Mitchell of Kenan and Kel fame. Continue reading

Sherika Sherard review – destine for big things

Karamel, LondonSherika Sherard at Karamel, London, Apr 01, 2015 by Aaron Lee (3264x1836)The more Sherika Sherard plays, the more it feels like she is destine to capture the hearts of thousands – if not millions – the way her viral song, ‘Give Me a Job’, has done. Call it conjecture. Call it quadruple-S (subjectively succumbing to singer-songwriters) syndrome. But no other acoustic soul singers are capturing London, and tales of its inhabitants, at the stop-motion pace of this songstress from the south side of the River Thames. Continue reading

Chic ft Nile Rodgers review – faultless enthusiasm from the hitmaker and co

Roundhouse, LondonChic, Nile Rodgers, Roundhouse, London, Mar 21, 2015, 01, by Aaron Lee (3264x1836)The secret to any good concert is not to peak too soon. But, in the case of Nile Rodgers and his crew of Chic enlistees, at their second Roundhouse show in two days, the vibe just kept on going. Continue reading