After leaving predictably late and getting treated to a surprise impromptu tour of South London courtesy of the slowest train I've ever been on, I made it to Camden Town via getting lost on the underground to meet my friend with the tickets, who helpfully informed me that he'd been slating me on facebook for my poor time-keeping skills. Although hindered by public transport (biggup Boris), my lateness did mean that we were to shamefully miss Jodie Connor, someone I'd actually been looking forward to seeing but luckily we arrived just in time to catch Yasmin and the formidable Wretch 32.
Yasmin + DJ Cable
The venue, Camden's 'Jazz Cafe', one of the chosen spots for the 'HMV Next Big Thing' series, was more intimate than I'd originally expected but suited the occasion perfectly. The bar was heaving, the place was buzzing and after getting a few pints whilst waiting for sound checks to be completed, it wasn't long before Yasmin took to the stage. Despite a number of technical difficulties, she was still able to perform 3 tracks, each accompanied by a live band and tour deejay, DJ Cable, including debut single 'On My Own' which charted at Number 39 in last week's UK Top 40. Effortlessly performed and with a Lily Allen-esque laid-back stage presence, Yasmin had the majority of the crowd united in a gentle sway from left to right. The band too were excellent, complimenting Yasmin's sound without compromising her vocals and creating the vibe the occasion called for. Although a little disappointed at not being able to extend her performance, Yasmin ended with the excellent 'On My Own' before thanking the crowd for their support, emphasising how proud she was to have charted. And rightfully so. Also, 'ang tight DJ Cable and his 'Butterz' tee - excellent choice.
After a couple more pints and some questionable between-set dancing whilst waiting for Wretch, a huge cheer from an excited crowd signaled the start of the final performance of the night. Skipping onto the stage, a confident Wretch implored the crowd to 'MAKE SOME NOIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSEEEEE' before launching straight into his set. As with Yasmin, the live band brought the whole performance together and it was refreshing to see the 'showman' come out in Mr 32, who made a conscious effort to interact with the crowd and cover every inch of the stage. Despite performing a number of album tracks, the crowd were also treated to a freestyle more remiscent of the '06 Wretch that some of us used to know and love - it almost served as a gentle reminder of exactly where he'd come from. The set was brought to a close with the inevitable current smash 'Traktor', religiously recited by large parts of a dedicated crowd who greeted the end of the show with a huge cheer as a beaming Wretch made his way off stage - a thoroughly professional performance from Grime's latest top-ten export.
Uncle Albert looking 'Butterz' like DJ Cable on the way home
REMEMBER - You can buy Yasmin's 'On My Own', including a ridiculously sick Royal-T remix, and Wretch 32's 'Traktor' on ITunes + from all the other usual spots.