Live Review: Converse Block Party – London (April 29, 2012)
Heading into The Old Vic Tunnels, also known as The Banksy Tunnel, it felt strange to be in what looked like a full-blown rave at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. Converse have been holding 'Block Party' events around the world since 2011, but this was the first time it was held in the UK and the team did not disappoint...
Kicking off the event was Pepstar, followed by The Merkage Band. Flirta D entered shortly after, performing SLK's timeless grime track, 'Hype Hype', just before spitting some bars over some of the most prolific underground beats of the last decade. Kozzie jumped on stage next, getting the crowd jumping with his energetic presence, all before three of the UK’s finest spitters joined us: Mic Righteous, Lady Leshurr and Scrufizzer.
The event was lacking female presence, but Leshurr made up for that by giving us a vibrant performance. Featuring a cover of 'The Motto', she moved onto 'Lego' before giving us the best tracks from her latest EP, '2000 And L'. Although the beautiful Mz Bratt later took to the stage, the Birmingham''s Lady Leshurr definitely did the best job when it came to representing for the ladies.
Up next was the MC clash, which saw MCs from around the country battle it out to win the chance to record a track with music label, No Hats No Hoods. Fighting for the place, Skolz, Bugzy Malone and Row D spared no punches when it came to the lyrical destroying each other. This clash went down well, with the crowd showing each opponent praise. But it was Row D who won on the night.
The crowd got thicker and the lights got brighter as we started to warm up for the headliners. "Bluku! Bluku!" Those were the words that echoed from the mouth of D Double E. The audience rushed closer to the stage to hear him and fellow Newham Generals member Footsie perform, just before making room for Clement Marfo and the Frontline - who sprayed the crowd with water, much to my delight and some ladies' annoyance.
Skepta then appeared, causing some of the females to climb on top of one another to get a better view as he belted out the catchy 'You Know Me?' P Money followed after Skepta, and then we eagerly waited for the finale – Wiley. Dressed head-to-toe in Converse (of course), the godfather of grime kicked off his set by performing tracks from 'Evolve Or Be Extinct', ending his set with 'Take That'.
Although it was a tiresome day and at an unusual time, Converse’s 'Block Party' event did a great job at capturing the essence of the UK underground scene, which came at a great time given the recent celebrations for the 10-year anniversary of grime. Although the MC’ing wasn’t always top class, I was in definitely in instrumental heaven.
Words: Maz Khan (@MazHalima)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)