‘Happy Birthday to ya, Happy Birthday’
OK so maybe Stevie Wonder wasn’t in the house, but there were so many other artists here to help celebrate the momentous 8th birthday of ILUVLIVE, to be honest, there just wouldn’t have been enough room for him!
With the added bonus of a special after party later we first proceeded with the regular main show which already promised an incredible line-up.
Those attending were also treated to the first look at a photo gallery featuring unique images of many artists that have appeared at ILUVLIVE during it’s 8 year history. Famous faces, many of whom have gone on to become household names, such as Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Wretch 32, Chipmunk, Katy B, Roll Deep, NDubz, Ms Dynamite, Professor Green, Maverick Sabre, Emile Sande and Tinie Tempah had all been captured on film for posterity. (The exhibition will continue to run in XOYO’s bar for the next three weeks and is open to the public.)
Heading down to the main performance area where hosting duties fell to not one but two of our regular MC’s with Ras Kwame & 1xtra’s Twin B both on hand to introduce tonight’s acts. As ever, what a line up, with the cream of UK talent ready to rock the foundations of XOYO, including a few special surprise guests.
First on stage was one of these mystery guests. Only a couple of months since she last appeared here, Leicester teen sensation MAHALIA joined us again for a rendition of the beautiful ‘Let The World See The Light’. If there is any question about her potential star quality, after witnessing this performance there could be little doubt in anyone’s mind.
Another unannounced artist followed. Again returning after a successful appearance in April, JOSH KUMRA was here with an acoustic version of his forthcoming debut solo single ‘Helicopters & Planes’. His smooth vocal also captivated the crowd and showed he has earned his rightful place on the music world’s stage.
Following Josh was a lady who is also no stranger to ILUVLIVE, having both performed and visited the show many times in the past, CLEO SOL who recently signed a deal with Island records. The label clearly saw what we’ve already known for some time, that the UK can produce our own commercial R&B stars just as good as any from the US. Beginning with the funky Motown styled “Are You Ready” and following with both her previous single ‘High’ and forthcoming single, the Davinche produced, ‘Never The Right Time’ she looked & sounded incredible and got the party officially started.
Arguably the current king of the UK grime scene is GHETTS. With his fast lyrically spitting style and no nonsense beats you know that when he takes the stage he means business. Firing off with ‘Artillery’ right through to the big tune ‘On A Level’ his full on performance was relentless and left no-one in any doubt about his credentials.
Possibly the newest and least known name on tonight’s bill was BIG KIDS. Essentially a male/female duo that produce commercial pop with a quirky edge. However when you find out the male part of the band is a certain MR.HUDSON you soon realize this is no overnight discovery. Their sound really does throw everything into the mix, with elements of everything from funk to 80’s pop (as shown on their single ‘Superhero’), and is fronted by the very lively Rosie who shares vocals with Hudson and was captivating to watch on stage. Look out for these kids as the grow up!
Tayo Jarrett aka SCORCHER was next to rock the ILUVLIVE house. Another big name in the world of grime, he has worked and appeared on other tracks with the likes of WRETCH 32, WILEY & more as well as releasing a series of mixtapes and his own successful album ‘Concrete Jungle’ in 2009. Bringing his fellow rapper GHETTS back to join him for his first track, then TERMINATOR for the next, he finished his set with the brand new single “It’s All Love” (and there really was a lot of love in the house for him).
8 proved to be an important number for our final act as co-incidentally it is also 8 years since London rapper SWAY dropped his first mixtapes, now in 2012 and with a string of other successful releases under his belt, he’s back with yet another new one, The Delivery 2 Mixtape (Revisited), out this week. Performing his two top 40 singles, the Loleatta Holloway/Black Box sampling ‘Still Speeding’ and recent top 10 smash ‘Level Up’ and wrapping up his set with the cleverly constructed ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ (which quotes lines from almost every Hip-Hop anthem you can think of), SWAY also showed that his success and place in the industry is well deserved.
So that was the show over......or was it??? As it was a birthday, the party continued and a huge line up of other artists took to the stage to perform special one off tracks to help us celebrate the big night.
DJ Melody Kane ran some serious tunes before Kal Lavelle and Mic Righteous kicked the aftershow off with a great performance of the stunning ‘In Love With My Friend’. This was soon followed by appearances from Lioness, Stylo G, Fem Fel, Shystie, ADot, No Lay and the list went on as we partied til the early hours.
After such a big night we all need a rest, so ILUVLIVE is now hibernating until August, but you can guarantee one thing, it will return, better & stronger than ever before.