- Words Fernanda Dugdale
The Grime star goes back to his roots in an intimate yet momentous gig in the heart of his hometown.
East London Grime MC Kano has had a riotous year with a turn in Top Boy and the release of his critically acclaimed and politically driven sixth studio album ‘Hoodies All Summer. Revered by his peers and adored by his fans, Kano’s prowess has kept him at top of the game for well over a decade. And rightly so. His singular style along with his versatility as an artist is compelling to witness live.
Supported by both an orchestra and choir, the rousing performance was punctuated by beautiful choral solos and a unifying sense of community that so underlines the ethos of the East London talent.
‘Class Of Deja’ saw Kano bring out local legends Ghetts and D Double E to rapturous applause whilst old favourites such as ‘P’s and Q’s’ and ‘3 Wheel-ups’ electrified the audience.
Energetic, searing, yet always humble, Kano’s presence in this personal space surrounded by family and friends was momentous. Dynamic and radiant, the night feels as memorable for him as it is for the audience.
The indoor sports hall at Newham Leisure Centre was chosen by Kano himself and remained a secret until the day of the performance. All hints of traumatic beep test memories were removed as the space was transformed by Wray & Nephew into a full-scale music venue to rival any major club venue in just 24 hours. The leisure centre is referenced in his track ‘T-Shirt Weather in the Manor’ and holds a significant place in his development both as artist and individual. Speaking to the audience, Kano recalls how he “used to do trampolining here… so when the opportunity came we had to take it back to this place and show it some respect.”
Kano’s event was the first of the Wray Residency series which sees Jamaican-influenced artists headline empty retail units or unusual community spaces for one-off, intimate events. Community is at the heart of the project with 100% of ticket and drinks proceeds going to a local community cause.
As Kano and his supporting musicians grooved off the stage to Sister Nancy’s ‘Bam Bam’, the appreciation and love for the East London star was palpable, we’d all experienced something special. It’s definitely a gig we’ll remember for a long time.