upstairs in a pub in Camden
This is great.
The venue is jammed.
People are falling all over the stage and the Young Fathers are racking up the electricity bill. The rap crew have got it nailed down- their raps are great- funny and clever and super tight.
They hail from Edinburgh- perhaps one of the least likely rap epicenters on the planet but with its own tight small scene. Young Fathers are a party crew and have the house rocking. There is all that arm waving, sing-along stuff that has become a hip-hop staple but it’s done with such a genuine joy de vivre that it is really affecting.
They also have the songs. I’ve seen them once before and I feel like I know the set inside out. Those hooks are so damn catchy and the songs are cleverly constructed.
The crew also know how to entertain. They break off for some body popping like you used to see on lino mats outside shopping centres, they flirt with the crowd and the ooze an infectious and powerful energy. This is the kind of rap that crosses over to the indie kids and it’s easy to see Young Fathers rocking it at festivals this year.
Supporting Charli XCX is a real find. A 17 year old with a magnetic charisma and a great voice- her fantastically named debut single Franchesckaar! Produced by Darren Bazzoni), and its follow up Emelline/Art Bitch saw our young heroine zapping her megaphone-fuzzed raps over grimily bouncing baselines. It’s a great sound- MIA is in there, Soulwax and Justice are referenced but this is very much her own pure bolshy, street smart, full colour pop. She rules the stage as she struts around on her tottering white, high heels oozing a street cool and pop smarts.
She must be on the verge of the breakthrough. Hip, smart and full of pop cool, she crackles the kinetic, electric of the new modern, the multi music, referencing modern pop star who is in touch with everything and she has a killer voice.
Charli XCX continues to bounce on the stage with the indestructible energy of youth and the sharp intelligence of someone who has got it all and connects with the audience- the perfect 21st century pop star.