GIG – Stomzy at Portsmouth Guildhall – Saturday 12th March 2016

stormzyMichael Omari (born 26 July 1993), better known by his stage name Stormzy, is an English rapper and MC. He won Best Grime Act at the 2014 MOBO Awards and was named as an artist to look out for in the BBC’s influential Sound of 2015 list.

After garnering attention on the UK underground music scene via his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles over classic grime beats, Stormzy released his debut EP Dreamers Diseaseindependently in July 2014. On 22 October, Stormzy won Best Grime Act at the MOBO awards. Later that month he became the first unsigned rapper to appear on Later with Jools Hollandperforming the song “Not That Deep” from Dreamers Disease.

In November 2014, Stormzy collaborated with rapper Chip and Shalo on the track “I’m Fine”, also appearing in a video for the song. The track is part of Chip’s upcoming Believe & Achieveproject.

On 7 January 2015, Stormzy came number 3 in the BBC Introducing top 5 on Radio 1. In March 2015 he released the single “Know Me From”, which entered the UK Singles Chart at number 49. In September 2015, he released a final instalment to his “WickedSkengMan” freestyle series, “WickedSkengMan 4”, onto iTunes, along with a studio version of his “Shut Up” freestyle over XTC’sFunctions On The Low instrumental. The track debuted at number 18 on the UK chart dated 24 September, becoming Stormzy’s first top 40 hit and the first ever freestyle to reach the top 40 in the United Kingdom.

On 12 December 2015, Stormzy performed “Shut Up” during British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua’s ring-walk for his fight versus Dillian Whyte. Originally, “Shut Up”, released as part of the “WickedSkengMan 4” single EP in September 2015, charted at number 59. Since the performance, it began climbing up the iTunes chart and into the top 40. As a result, Stormzy launched a Christmas number 1 campaign to get the song to number 1. It generated a large amount of support which made it enter the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart on 18 December 2015 at number 8, a week prior to the Christmas number 1 week, succeeding the chart position of “WickedSkengMan 4”. It has become Stormzy’s highest-charting single.

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GIG – Akala at The Cellars – Thursday 28th November 2013

akalaAkala (born Kingslee James Daley, 1 December 1983) is an English rapper, poet, and journalist. Originally from Kentish Town, Camden, London, his older sister is rapper/vocalist Ms. Dynamite. In 2006, he was voted the Best Hip Hop Act at the MOBO Awards.Daley chose the stagename

Akala because it is a Buddhist term for “Immovable”,and started releasing music in 2003 from his own independent music label Illa State Records. He released his first mixtape, entitled The War Mixtape, in 2004. In 2006 he released his first album – It’s Not a Rumour. This proved to be his breakthrough album, containing the single “Shakespeare” – a reference to his self-proclaimed title “The Black Shakespeare” – which made the BBC Radio 1 playlist.

His work was recognised with the MOBO Award for Best Hip Hop Act. Additionally in 2006, a mixtape entitled A Little Darker was released under the name “Illa State”, featuring Akala and his sister Ms. Dynamite, as well as cameo appearances by many other artists. Akala appeared for a live session on BBC Radio 1Xtra where he was challenged to come up with a rap containing as many Shakespeare play titles as he could manage. Akala wrote and performed a minute-long rap containing 27 different Shakespeare play titles in under half an hour. He later recorded these lyrics in the studio and turned it into the single “Comedy Tragedy History”. In 2007 Akala followed up his breakthrough album with his Freedom Lasso album, containing the “Comedy Tragedy History” track. 2008 saw The War Mixtape Vol. 2 released along with an EP of acoustic remixes.

Akala’s third album “Doublethink” was released in 2010, and holds a strong theme of George Orwell’s popular novel 1984. Doublethink contained tracks such as “Find No Enemy” and “Yours And My Children” detailing some of the sights he saw on his trip to Brazil. In November 2010, Akala headlined a live performance at the British Library, to launch the Evolving English exhibition and featured performances by the British poet Zena Edwards, comedian Doc Brown and British rapper/activist Lowkey. The live event also included Akala taking part in a hip-hop panel discussion alongside Saul Williams, U.S professor MK Asante and Lowkey. Akala appeared on Charlie Sloth’s show on Radio 1Xtra on 18 July 2011, performing a “Fire in the Booth”, and after the great reception it received (over 1,500,000 hits on YouTube), he returned again in May 2012 and provided “Part 2”.In May 2012 Akala released a two-part mixtape, Knowledge Is Power, containing his first “Fire in the Booth”, and followed that up with a promotional tour in the autumn of 2012. In March 2013 Akala announced via his social media feeds that his fourth album The Thieves Banquet will be released in May 2013, pushing back the future EP The Ruin of Empires to later in 2013.

Akala’s fourth album, The Thieves Banquet, was released on 27 May 2013, including the songs “Malcolm Said It”, “Maangamizi” and “Lose Myself” (feat. Josh Osho).




REQUESTED – Kickstarter at The Talking Heads – Tue 6th Dec

Kickstarter are a Rock/Rap/Dubstep band hailing from London, Essex and Belgium and write songs highlighting important issues affecting people today such as, government failures, economic sustainability and social injustice. Following their self-released 4 track debut EP entitled ‘The Construct City’ in March 2011, Kickstarter gained their debut radio airplay with ‘Fight Back’ on BBC Essex, which was then followed by airplay on Tom Robinson’s radio show on BBC 6.

Kickstarter have become known for their raucous live shows, always breaking the barrier between the stage and the audience, and shattering fourth walls across Endgland’s finest venues, including the indigo2 and the O2 Islington Acadmey with shard-piercing sets that skilfully combine dubstep, drum ‘n’ bass and electro with a raw rock/rap/funk dynamic.

Here’s what some people have had to say about us:

“They rock as hard as any hard rock bands out there, with a very informed rap/ funk style to get you moving. Singer Laurence Ayeni raps and smiles, he knows the band are kicking up a storm behind him, all he has to do is get you moving and get the Kickstarter message out there. I reckon you need to hear them, one of London’s best young groups. Switch off X Factor, go see these guys instead!”

– Steve Horwood, reviewer and Publicity manager for Club Bus Wind

“Kickstarter produced a high octane performance… [with an] endearing, offbeat, visual approach which won the audience over almost immediately, hooking them into the music. Rap can almost become clichéd and overworked but songs such as Construct City, Fight Back and Drop Zone with powerful and tightly bound lyrics ensured that the focus was always on the stage. But this was no one man show. The band echoed and reflected energies of their own through insistent beats and tunes.”

– Lisa Parker, Music Reviewer for The LP Project