Caution: this is no holds barred! Leave your feelings behind. WARNING: contains a lot of sarcasm. Not everything is serious. After you've read this read my post addressing the Twitter backlash by artists http://marvinsparks.blogspot.com/2009/09/uk-funky-live-my-response-to-twitter.html
Alright so, I made my way down to the prestigious Wembley for the much-discussed (in small circles) UK Funky Live. I'll start with my journey. Why the rass TFL love do tube works on lines that I need?! I never ever use the stinkin Metropolitan line; the colour's sheg and I don't business bout the destinations since o2 Arena came to dun Wembley's dance, but the one time I need it, they decide to ramp wid da ting KMT. Had to travel on one stupid Rail Replacement Bus on some fly-overs. Didn't start well.
Got to the venue at about 7.15 maybe, show was scheduled to start at 7 (don't know if it did), see couple man stuntin' near the backstage entrance in Range's and Merc's (shouts to dem man derr - hope your council tax and mum's TV license is paid), walked past the first entrance - nobody there. Past the ticket collection bit, not many people there. In the distance I see this line stretching back quay mookoo on some theme park ride levels in comparison to every other line, so I'm thinking "Rah, the event sell-arff" only to find out it was the complimentary ticket line :/ Wah gwarn for that? Waited about for a bit for the comp tix, finally got in at around 7.45/8.00.
Now let me state this first: I went out of curiousity. A funky concert didn't hold too much weight to me. Yes, I blogged about UK Funky Sessions 1Xtra did, but I watched that from the comfort of my home and it wasn't intended to make money. A concert in one of the most historic venues in the world which has seen the creme de la creme of music, big UK fights etc. for a genre which has been around for a year or 2? A place where I saw Jay-Z bring out Beyonce and Nas, now staging the likes of Katy B, Ny and Dotstar - artists you'd see at your Uni rave? o2 domination + recession = hard out here for Wembley.
In addition to man and gyal you'd see at your local shindig, many are artists you find yourself watching from the bar as you get the pints in. You know you're likely to see them next week at another rave with the same DJs you saw the previous week.
So yeah, initial expectations weren't too high. On to the show now, artists were set in blocks. What constituted certain artists being in which block I don't know but the running order wasn't bad. Night was hosted by that-guy-in-every-video-especially-funky aka comedian and new member to the red book (UK passport) holders society Eddie Kadi and Yonz. Who? Think she won Miss Flavour in about 07 & is one of Kojo's Funhouse girls. Eddie was good, Yonz's voice didn't carry well but personality was aight. Frequent usage of "Dun know" was a tad jarring but she wore tight skirts which accentuated her Jah-blessed back-and-thighs combo. Girls behind kept commenting on her mis-match "Wembley market" outfits which didn't go but from the criteria of tight skirts was met, mi nuh care!
OK I'll stop blabbin about stuff you don't care about. Venue was more packed than I thought it would be. I'd say slighty under half-full at this point. First act was some girl backed by dancers who turned out to have the most creative performance, but the only thing funky was her red, black possiblly some blue weave. Sung over Birthday Shhh (radio edit) and some next mish-mash. Dead. Heard some booes too.
Next up was "The big man Zest" dressed in some jump suit commonely worn by painters and decorators with something emblazoned on the back in some crystal type material. Couldn't make out what it was sorry. His performance was big! Voice carried well had the whole place 'Jump(in) in the Middle and Skank(in)'. Brought out his Play mate (pause) Coldsteps, looking kinda dapper in a suit and leather jacket and ting to perform his medley. Had the whole place screaming back his popular catchphrases. Obviously very popular but look how long he's been performing that. He hasn't capitalised on that by releasing hot tunes. Definitely one of the highlights. Oh yeh, the retro bashment dances like Willy Bounce and that to funky didn't really work.
Calista and her bongo bredrin performed... you guessed it 'Bongo Jam'! She was ok, looked alright (from far) but he was the main performer of the two. They introduced MC Ver-sa-tile. Worst dressed? Probably. Think he was on the rail replacement bus behind me about he's wearing some tracksuit jacket on stage. Oh no I forgot, he's funky's Mr. Motivator. Funky Anthem was well received, followed by Its That Fukry (Funky) cover of Cameo's Candy. This is where problem 2 of venue choice became apparant (if it wasn't already). Not only was it too big, could you imagine a dance festival with Deadmau5, Prodigy and David Guetta being held in an all-seater? Where the hell are people meant to dance? Had to dodge the crep-stepper-on's at this point - I didn't wanna have to get old skool. Went down well, I guess.
By this time I started the "Oli, oli, oli" counter. We are currently on 4.
Started quite well. Not much to say about the rest so brief summary:
2nd block of artists (was actually the 3rd, but it was 2nd I saw and heard the 1st block was dead) were females. Common theory about females in funky is they can't sing.
Sophia (or something) - Missed her entrance, confusion, people wondered where she was, hosts call up Princess but find out Sophia is ready. Don't know why they didn't "Oli, oli, oli" to fill the time. 1st song sounded good to me but it was soulful house sounding so majority were seated. At this point I'm thinking people only want skanks or the grunky stuff. 2nd song was alright, voice was alright too.
Princess - 1st song is the female anthem Frontline. I actually question if these so-called decent women (fans) know what she's singing about. Isn't she on about being with some wasteman drug-pusher? So what you singing it for when you complain you want a man in uni? Anyway everyone's up singing along. Song goes on a bit too long. Big Boys was next, another Ill Blu riddim which goes hard, maybe harder than Frontline. People don't know it so find a seat. The vocals are a bit flat on this tune for me, slightly catchy, but the beat goes hard.
Ny - 1st song Dangerous = crowd sit down song goes on too long. 2nd song Fallin = crowd get up & skank... song goes on too long for me. Voice is good though. Looks good in some blue top & them leggings. Woi oi! 2 best female for the night I'd say. Could have been the first to perform without dancers.
Shea Soul - 1st song don't know. Sounds soulful + people don't know so *holds mic out to crowd* "people sit down". Surprise, surprise Make It Funky For Me = crowd get up and skank (you can see the pattern can't you?).
The above all proved that the funky songstresses aren't bad singers at all. Only Princess was a bit flat, but she's the best female artist based on the fact she actually has more than 1 good song and an image.
Gracious K - cremated the whole arena with Migraine Skank. Held the mic so the bottom faced the ceiling similarly to how Ninja Man and Cutty Ranks them used to in the 90s ("pe-num-enum-one"). Unlike the others, he performed his one known song and cut.
Fr3e - Tribal Skank had people really contemplating moving side-to-side but it was an all-seater, so scrap that. 2nd song about beads. Who the hell wears beads? Not badman like I. I don't need beads to turn into superman like they were suggesting. Ended with some more Tribal Skankin, joined by Play and his Spartan's "Aaaaooo!"
Chick who sings "Sexy, sexy, sexy..." - Her outfit was scandalous. Some tight snake skin poom-poom shorts showing off some everlasting legs. Song was rubbish but she came with her own dancers, one of which lifted her leg up to her head. Had a bit of trouble balancing mind you, but that was most probably down to her back-off setting her back a bit.
Katie Pearl - Started with Feel It In The Air (I think?) everyone skanked, 2nd song found a seat. What's going on with this Makosi from Big Brother afro-wig wearing females? Katie, Sexy Sexy girl, Shea Soul all running it.
4th and final block. By this time the venue is over half full, reaching 3/4 I would say:
Dotstar - Performed his one big tune Stick Up, rocked low batts (disgrace), those ridiculous glasses which look similar to what the black man wore on Star Trek: The Next Generation (no Trekkie), but he was on stage so I'll bly him. Worst dressed? Changed my mind, he takes the title from Versatile. Had a few of his chaps on stage holding t-shirts and dancing. They walked off-stage with the t-shirts though :/ They involved the stock dancers who performed with almost everyone. There wasn't any discrimination in this dance group; from skinny to plump girls doing ballerina twirls, skinny white boy who put in a lot of effort but couldn't get his timing right to this heavyweight black boy who couldn't afford to put in the same effort (I'm not being rude, I just didn't see St. John's anywhere). Good to see multi-cultrilism in full effect.
Katy B - 1st song no-one knows, dead, so people stay in seats. Second song was As I meant people skanked. First time (from what I remember) an artist performs 3 songs, 3rd being the original UK funky female vocal featuring an MC Tell Me. Went down well. She was worst dressed by far; looked like she just came off a Cowboy ranch with her boots, some tight top which didn't do anything for her... you know, and some horrendous shorts.
Kyla - Laddamerrrcy, she looked FIYAH. No lie she was the best looking (from far) by quite a bit. That figure huggin pinky dress was the bollocks! She sounded quite good too. Performed Do You Mind to a good response then dead Daydreamin'.
Egypt - Gave the drummer a telling off for playing In The Morning as she walked out. Did one little sermon about how beautiful the crowd were, how we should clap for ourselves and that she loves us. Very cringeworthy. Maybe she was nursery helper prior to singing. Performed one dead tune called Same Mistakes. Hope she doesn't make that same mistake of performing that again (baddum tsh!). Crowd knew In The Morning word-for-word. I would say it was the most popular song out of the females. Included a very impressive guitar and drum solo respectively. Didn't leave before giving another one of those Best Actress Oscar speeches where you wanna shoob her of the stage. "I love this, I don't want to leave you guys". Love you're spoiling your performance. Told us her myspace, facebook adn inside leg measurements before she was nicely kicked off stage by Eddie Kadi and Yondie.
Last but not least was the man who most (I for sure) consider the scene's only star Donaaaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeee'o
How hilarious is this. He walks out like some big-time star to scream, scopes the crowd poised like a man ready to attack some curry goat and rice after a long day at work then gets his medz interrupted by Eddie Kadi bussin a lame joke? Not very funny I hear you mutter. Well that's because it wasn't the best bit. How about the hard drive for the music needed by the band wouldn't load up for about 5mins meaning Donae'o had to acappela x beat box Devil in a Blue Dress featuring the crowd? Could you imagine Jay-Z's DJ's replay thing not working? He was vex! Hid it well though.
Performed African Warrior after the sound finish pop down, wheel'd it. Could tell this is the moment the crowd were waiting for. Imaginary sticks were aloft, looked like a scene of Masai warriors hunting dinner in the wild. Told us people tell him he's got a good voice explaining that's why he sung an R&B song. Asked if we'd like to hear an R&B song, the crowd screamed an emphatic "NOOOOOOOOO!!!" Not sure that was meant to happen lol. Stuck to the script of FUNKY and went with Party Hard. Lifted the roof off the place! People all the up to the bleachers were skankin hard at this point. I'd like to add that Donae'o performance seemed to be the only one where you could feel the live element of the show. Sounded quite ineffective on the others.
Rushed through the Awards bit as they were pressed for time. To present the awards were: Adam Deacon, Ace (from Ace & Vis), Coldsteps (?) and Bashy.
Best Producer: Ill Blu (was sure Crazy Cousins would have won)
Best Video: Fr3e - Tribal Skank (agreed)
Best Funky track: Gracious K - Migraine Skank (agreed)
Best Female Artist: Egypt - In The Morning (thank God she never made a speech)
Best Male artist: Donaeo (duh!)
People on Twitter were saying Quincy won best DJ but he never. He received a special thanks along with Chi-ney (Khan Dinh photography). Think he got that for being the DJ for the night. They never announced the Best DJ
So in conclusion:
Was the show good? Was alright. It felt like going to a big concert in a big venue but seeing a bunch of support artists. The consistency failed due to the 98.6% of the artists being one-hit wonders and not even having a semi-decent follow-up.
What was the main problem? Every single one of those songs are best served in a club envornment and mixed onto the next by the DJ before the 2nd verse kicks in. Artists should perform hits as medleys at a fast-rate so you don't get tired of the song. These artists don't have the catalogue to do a concert. Club music should be in a club? Maybe? Most certainly not an all-seater.
Did it change any preconceived ideas about the genre: As a whole? H-E-L-L N-O!!! Buncha one-hits. The female singers were better than I anticipated though.
Would you like to see the event again? Many people inside but I question how many actually paid. Free ticket line was the longest. I wouldn't say it's worth the money unless something drastic happens to the quality within the genre. Venue wasn't suitable; too big, too prestigious & all-seater can't work. If anything else is happening like even a decent football match was on TV I doubt I'd go. Performances were glorified PA's. Curiosity got the best of me this time. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice... how you mean fool me twice? Me a eedyat?
Disclaimer: Thank you to the people who blessed me with a ticket, you know who you are. This is my blog meaning my opinions. They do not reflect those who supplied me with a ticket, my sponsors, parents, unborn kin etc, so no bodda try. Blogpost may contain grammatical and spelling errors but as long as you know what I mean I'm not bothered. I have not spell checked because it isn't working (too much writing or old IE) but anyways a rant isn't a rant without mistakes. May spice it up with pics and videos later, then again I may not. Enjoy. Leave a comment if you like.