Last Thursday saw London’s Royal Festival Hall play the unlikely host to award-winning composer Tommy Evans as he led his 20-piece orchestra (including three drummers and live mixing from Mad Professor & Adrian Sherwood), alongside numerous guest MCs and vocalists, through a two hour celebration of Soundsystem Culture.
Hip-Hop, Reggae, Jungle, UK Garage, Grime and Dubstep were all represented in the performance, which was also a 10th Anniversary Party for Outlook Festival.
Any fears that the evening would be a tame sit-down affair were allayed as Mary Anne Hobbs introduced proceedings and New York MC Pharaohe Monch kicked things off with the party-starting ’Simon Says’ and ‘Love’ – his feel-good contribution to J Dilla’s posthumous LP ‘The Shining’.
Ahead of his performance at the event we caught up with Pharoahe Monch. Click here to read about him discussing his openness with mental health issues, and his artistic approach to hip hop.
The crowd remained on their feet for the duration of the orchestras’s floor-filling setlist. Highlights included Mala’s seminal ‘Alicia’, Skream’s ‘Midnight Request Line’, Newham General’s ‘Hard’ and Flowdan taking to the stage with Killa P to perform ‘Skeng’.
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There were also appearances from Congo Natty, Jenna G and an energetic General Levy.
The night ended with glittering guest-of-honour Dawn Penn leading the crowd in a singalong of her 1994 classic ‘No, No, No’, delighting the 2,000 people watching as she skipped and danced off stage whilst MC Jonathan Scratchley of Gentleman’s Dub Club triumphantly declared that the organisers ‘put this shit together in three months!’ before thanking everybody for coming out and sending them skanking towards the exits.
Photo by Justina Bailey