The streets of SW9 were flooded beneath a sea of limited edition AirMax and Moschino swag on Saturday night, as a horde of old school ravers invaded Brixton Academy to party with the baddest MC’s in the galaxy.
Even those unfamiliar with hit BBC3 mockumentary People Just Do Nothing are likely to have got wind of the legendary pirate radio crusaders, Kurupt FM (108.9 on ya dial) and their garage agenda. The West London posse have made an appearance at almost every major music event over the last year, and considering the kind of crowds they draw in on each occasion, whether it be a boat party or a festival, it was no surprise their latest event was sold out.
The crew’s now infamous Champagne Steam Rooms has graced clubs across the country but this latest edition was their biggest show to date, and fans were in for a treat. Coming through with a line up of almost 6 hours of back to back garage and grime (Wookie, Heartless Crew, Casisdead, AJ Tracey) the South London institute served as a time portal back to 1999, as the Brentford boys hosted a showcase of some of the finest talent the UK garage scene has to offer.
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Having accumulated a hefty following off the back of their TV show, Kurupt FM are now legitimately just as respected as musical performers as they are for their observational comedy. Commended by music peers such as Big Narstie and reigning King of Garage Craig David, Kurupt FM have successfully tapped into the nation’s deep-seated affection for the nostalgic genre, quenching the latent thirst for unapologetic garage music of the naughties.
All members were in attendance Saturday night, MC Grindah and DJ Beats bursting onto the stage first, alongside Steves, Decoy and Fantasy. Although technically not an official member of the musical collective, but with just as big a fan base of his own, was Chabuddy G aka the Mayor of Hounslow aka Alan Brown Sugar. Acting as group manager, Chabuddy was front and centre throughout, kitted out in a fetching three piece corduroy number.
While their TV show, which seems to have acquired an almost cult-like status akin to Ali G, would be defined as a comedy, the whole bunch possess genuine musical skills not to be scoffed at. Combined, their stage presence demands respect. Whether they have perfected the embodiment of their onscreen characters, or are simply embracing their real life UKG fame, it is impossible to tell and utterly unimportant, as the results are undeniably impressive.
Head honcho MC Grindah, who by no means lacks limitless self-affirmation, and quite rightly so, displayed his unmatched ability to freestyle over every beat thrown his way. The lyrical partnership of Grindah and Beats‘ is a match made in freestyle heaven; the on stage chemistry between the two of them borders on romantic. The gang played all the favourites from People Just Do Nothing, including their official single Heart Monitor Riddem.
The seemingly useless, self proclaimed “Wiggy Mess” Steves pulled it out the bag in a large way, dishing out an expert DJ set. A particular highlight being his decision to drop Benga & Coki’sNight during Kele Le Roc’s performance of garage anthem My Love. Decoy proceeded to take over the decks for a well received jungle and dancehall interlude, the crowd enthusiastically following Grindah’s lead, chanting “Welcome to Jamrock Brixton.”
It would be criminal not to mention the mesmerising albeit unexpected Michael Jackson tribute performed by Hounslow’s homegrown lothario, Chabuddy G. His debut of “Dirty Aldonna” went down a treat; with the accompanying stage set up and dramatic choreography created the feeling of a (far more entertaining) X Factor novelty act.
Until you find yourself in amongst an audience with Kurupt FM it is perhaps hard to believe a modest sitcom can garner such a dedicated legion of bonafide music fans, but the atmosphere at Champagne Steam Rooms was undeniably electric. A crazy night was made even crazier by surprise performances by Big Narstie, Kele Le Roc and P Money, all of whom praised the groups efforts and thanked them for letting them get involved in such a special evening of music.