Music: Wretch 32, The Junction
Frances Docx reviews an uneven night of grime and R&B at The Junction
by Frances Docx
Monday 14th May 2012, 20:59 BST
There is a standard gig protocol. We buy tickets for the headline act and sip our overpriced drink from the sticky-looking bar impatiently as we silently beg the support acts to hurry on through a stream of unknown material from unknown singers begging us to follow them on Twitter. However, the Wretch 32 gig played games with the conventions of gig- going and the support acts proved to be the climax of the night.
The gig’s opener, Kyra, (I’ve always been suspicious of people without surnames) proved to be a cross between Miley Cyrus and a young Tina Turner; awful lyrics but saved by a powerful voice and a bounding enthusiasm. L Marshall jumped and sweated onto the stage speeding up the energy and bringing some grime to the night’s soundscape. However, I was disappointed with the amount of pre-recorded backing material used; bar vocals, very little of the music played was live, meaning his set, despite all the glamour of the strobes and stage, essentially a glorified karaoke. The final support act before Wretch 32 was the night’s climax. Jakwob ft. Rocky Nti stole the evening with a high-energy anthemic punch; his set featured a genius mix of crunching dubstep and ghetto-tech. The sheer talent of his compositions is almost tangible; his patchwork of genres and instruments (both natural and electronic,) particularly on ‘Electrify’ and ‘Let it Fall,’ is reminiscent of an earlier Massive Attack.
With this in mind, Wretch 32 had some high energy to maintain, and as much as I try to avoid these words he really did have ‘a hard act to follow.’ ‘Unorthodox’, predictably, went down fantastically and was admittedly pretty slick, but the mash up of Labyrinth’s ‘Earthquake’ felt awkward. After a while, the set dragged and felt pretty samey, the most striking songs being those featuring more of those mono-named singers ‘Trevor’ and ‘Stephanie.’ These two really did possess startling vocal power but I couldn’t help but think, again, they upstaged what was supposed to be the headline act. The gig’s high points often compensated for some deflating aspects; however it’s certainly hard to shy away from the awkwardness of being upstaged by your support.