What's a MeView? Know sometimes you read vague reviews where you can't tell whether the person actually enjoyed the show? This isn't one of them. For previous editions check here
First off, special thanks to mi dancehall sistrin Kazza/Kal. I can't remember which one of those she doesn't like. I'd like to call her that one more often. Just kidding. I don't think she likes either of them, so we'll keep it simple; Karen.
Wembley Arena hosted one of the most important dates on the urban events calender, 1Xtra Live, put on by guess who? What? Nah g, the best major radio station in UK, BBC Radio 1Xtra. If you haven't heard of 1Xtra Live, last night was the third edition of the annual concert that grabs leading national and international stars from a range of urban genres on one stage. Tickets for the event are FREE! That's right Londoners, all you have to pay for is your oyster card (travel), unless you have zones 1-4 on your season pass. Cost a bit more for the zones 5-countryside, but it's money you would have spent anyway, so minor.
Artists priviliged enough to grace the stage in previous years include Dizzee Rascal, Chris Brown, Kelly Rowland, Akon and many more. Last year 1Xtra Live made history in Sheffield?; for the first time in history a concert showcasing/celebrating homegrown talent was regarded as a luxury rather than novelty and sympathetic (or do I mean pathetic).
This years line-up was still dominated by #TeamUK acts; Mr. #1 Tinchy Stryder, new superstar on the block Tinie Tempah, Camden's finest N-Dubz, east London comeback collective Roll Deep as well as relative newcomers in Dagenham dangargon Devlin, princess of dubstep (and all things dancey) Katy B and in-demand singer/songwriter Labrinth. Sprinkled with the best x budget-suitable US artists in BoB and Jason Derulo, plus owner of summer record for 2010, reggae ambassador Gyptian.
The event streamed live on www.bbc.co.uk/1Xtra, full performance videos are available for...then they will be cut down to highlights, but I'm still going to tell the story of the night through MeView (I don't review, I MeView). Why? Because I can!
In the spirit of previous MeView's it's a bit weighty plus there were many acts, so I've made all the artist's names bold for your skimming pleasure. Obviously I'd appreciate if you read the whole thing, but I understand if you cant
Tinchy Stryder kicked the show off with one of my favourite singles of his, In My System. Backed by a full band and backing vocalist, I missed his entrance as I walked into the venue chomping on my freshly bought hot dog, but heard it was impressive. Followed up by Drake's 'Over' x Tinchy's street single 'Gangsta' as seen/heard on Radio 1/1Xtra Live Lounge and 'Number 1' with his first guest Dappy much to the delight of the screaming girls. New single 'Second Chance' had the 15k strong crowd waving. Undoubted highlight of the set was Tinchy calling out Professor Green, Tinie Tempah and Devlin for their first performance of synth and bass heavy 'Game Over'. The full line up of featured artists on that track is longer, can't wait for the video.
Tinchy Stryder 'Game Over' featuring Professor Green, Tinie Tempah and Devlin
Hosts for the night TreMma (breakfast hosts Trevor Nelson and Gemma Cairney) introduced the first international act of the night and first reggae artist in 1Xtra Live short history, hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, Gyptian. Babylon fought against the BBC for booking Mavado in '08, so he was removed. Gyptian's short-but-sweet set didn't disappoint. Located on the smaller stage at the end of the catwalk, the locksed-up ladies man's set geared for the, erm, ladies (obviously Marvin), consisted of traditional reggae with Beautiful Lady and summer dancheall anthem Hold You. No Nicki Minaj obviously, but "Mi nuh care" (see what I did there? "Mi eye them dry and MI NUH CARE" are lyrics on Hold You). I'd like to point out that he appeared to be wheeling his hand for a pull up during Hold You that, sadly, never came.
Gyptian 'Hold You'
Songstress Katy B took to the same stage next with Circle host Tippademus (gotta be one of the greatest host names). Aside from her missing the drop, I’m not sure if it was because Hold You sounded full or the sound engineer forgot the volume, but On A Mission didn't knock as hard as I expected. No such complaint for Perfect Stranger = BANGURH! Absolutely adore her tracks; her sweet vocals just float over the chaos of thumping bass and thrashing chords beneath like an unmanned spy plane in a war-torn region. Random. I know. Brought out iconic female MC, Ms Dynamite to perform a track. Didn't like the song. But hey, who would have thought a year after UK Funky Live, Katy B would be the only person to grace the Wembley stage?! Albeit, this time reppin' a different genre (and far superior setting for a worthier cause). Well done Katy.
An energetic BoB *Shaggy voice* jump-and-pranced (from Oh Carolina for the slow/young ones) on the main stage through In The Sky, UK #1 'Nothin' On You' (no Bruno "that sniff makes me feel like I'm from" Mars) and my personal fave 'Airplanes'. Didn't bring out Giggs to my disappointment. In fact, the performance didn't keep me that engaged. He did Nothin' On You with a little reggae fusion.
Labrinth emerged through one of the secret entrance thingys on the second stage. Wearing a navy blue trench coat, black bucket hat and khaki's. He looked like the Singing In The Rain dude singing Let The Sunshine (with the obvious melanin difference). Mz Bratt tweeted that he had the best vocal performance of the night so far. I ticked strongly disagree. Gyptian and Katy B were much better. Labrinth's voice sounded weave... I mean horse (I'm not anti-weave) to me. I pressed reply, but deleted it, scrolled up and saw her clarify that it's in her opinion. I took that as many people disagreed with her. She is an MC afterall, At this point I'd like to say it's out now. Go purchase a great song.
I'd never never seen Karaoke in an arena before, not sure how successful it sounded over the top of my voice, but I had a wail of a time singing along to Bonkers by Dizzee Rascal (boys vs girls) and Black Eyed Peas 'I Gotta Feeling' (Gemma's side of the audience vs. Mista Jam's) - a song I didn't know the lyrics to until Saturday. In fact I can only remember "Fill up my cup! Mazatov!" I'm teetotal so I don't know if that's how you spell it. I would Google it, but that would spoil the point. Mista Jam made a good host/MC on the flipside Gemma's dancing throws me off my two-step and her singing's keyless. But she knows this and flaunts it, so if you had hang-ups, shame on you! Her personality makes up for what she lacks; she's really bubbly and has a girl next door/down to earth vibe about her.
Next up, the Marmite man a.k.a. Jaaayysun D'rooloh (on paper it says Jason Derulo); he's either in the elite group of artists with Flo-Rida (yeah, I said "elite" hear me out) of Celebs you'd most like to punch (disclaimer: as long as it doesn't bruise. I heard 1-punch KO's are ok though) or torture your ears with as 8 million of you sorry souls have done. Does he have the record for most family and friends by any chance? Anyway, he pops up out the stage doing a little jig. At this point, the hot dog from earlier wanted to pop up too, he couldn't take anymore. I, on the other hand, gave him a chance to prove himself. I'll be honest, the 'urban' Billy Elliott gave a good account of himself. Vocals sound alright, danicing and ballet looked quite good, I tapped my foot to 'In My Head' and (shh...) and females screamed. Am I being biased 'cos he included a little reggae-tinged section on Riding Solo? Who knows...
"Dagenham Don Gorgon" Devlin stepped up to the stage with Dogzilla to the sound of London City, before performing Brainwashed, followed up by Runaway. I was intrigued to see Devlin perform becasue he's a pure spitter. Holding the mic on sets in a DJ booth/on radio is different to performing. Luckily, he didn't have to work the big stage, but for me, I couldn't see how he would work a big stage. Not that I feel it will be detrimental to him, just out of curiousity. Joined on stage for Runaway by the delightful Yasmin. She wore some legging looking things (too far to see properly), but damn fam, she's fly.
Soundclash between Mista Jam (red gown) vs. Ace & Vis (blue gown) got off to a shaky start. Technical glitch so they showed Dizzee performing Dance For Me last year possibly? Time goes so fast. Anyway, seasoned vet Trevor Nelson handled it like a pro, naturally. Come on, did you expect any less? He's a dinosaur innadis! Certified legend. Our Terry Wogan. Moving on,
1st round: Biggest track in the box. Jam could only manage On A Mission by Katy B? Reception wasn't great when she performed it. Ace & Vis repped strongly with Yolando Be Cool 'We No Speak Americano'. First round went to Ace & Vis for me. Easily. Jam said they cheated because it isn't a 1Xtra song. Which I guess made sense with the stipulation for round 2. Ding ding!
2nd round: Guilty pleasure. I'd like to take this point to say I would have murdered both of them with this round. Jam drew for Kings of Leon 'Use Somebody' (regular tune, no forward from me); Ace & Vis played Toploader 'Dancing In The Moonlight' for everyone that came out with their best friend. Great intro, great song choice, winners of that round.
Final round: Biggest hip hop track. Ace & Vis set pace with House of Pain 'Jump Around'. Strong forward. If Mista Jam carried on the way he did before, he's dead in the water. He drew for a haymaker mammoth tune. Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Flick. On. Lights. This. Dance. Is. Done.
Winner chosen by crowd response = Mista Jam. Think Ace & Vis got robbed cos they won 2-1, but that was a helluva comeback.
Tinie Tempah put on a stellar performance as to be expected. Nothing more that I can really say to be honest. Oh actually, he's one of few UK urban artists I feel really performs like he enjoys his own songs...
Cee-Lo's first song was dead. Second song = powerful
Roll Deep took us from Sidewinder with 'When I'm 'Ere' (much to the pleasure of grime abassadors JP, SB and I saw Hyperfrank skankin too) to Butlins/Pontins/Magaluf/Oceana with 'Good Time' (#BadTimes) in one go. Couldn't believe it. I must admit Green Light is a guilty pleasure of mine, even though the urban guys spoilt the tune. Caught myself nodding to it. Who knew the vocalists were two different females? I didn't.
Last but by no means least N-dubz! Tulisa looked like a temptress in that red dress, Dappy (aka Dappy Ranks, the undercover ragga artist) has the presence with the urban looking fella chiming in every now and again on the keyboard. Joking, big up Fazer, very talented producer and on the keyboard. Looked like they were going through the motions a bit but the fans weren't complaining.
Conclusion: As with all events there are highs and lows and on this occasion there was Jason Derulo *moment of silence*. I really enjoyed it. Felt the power of #TeamUK. Seeing a sold/freed out Wembley Arena responding to every artist; be it screaming when name was announced, waving arms, singing along etc. was surreal. Couple years ago, the mainstream door was locked for them. It would have been perfectly fine without the Yanks, Gyptian was absolutely necessary obviously. Only person I would have liked that wasn't there is Skepta, but you can't have it all.
Oh yeah, this time last year I cussed the organisers of UK Funky Live for putting on the show in such an established venue. Shout out to them cos someone knew UK Funky wouldn’t be around this year and capitalised on it like a true business man/ooman. Still disagree with the venue choice. FAO UK Funky Live artists: Katy B said “Wish you were here.”