Here at REPEAT, we’ve had the privilege of seeing some of the most electrifying live shows of 2019. After years of attending a range of gigs and festivals, 2019 held arguably our most adventurous and diverse exploration of live shows. From seeing rap giants in venues holding thousands of fans, to various world music under the sun on the main stage at Boomtown, to heavy moshpits in Leeds’ Headrow House, holding no more than 100 people. Here are some of our personal favourite live shows which we were lucky enough to attend last year.
Boomtown opening ceremony
Nothing starts off the best weekend of the year like the opening ceremony at the Lion’s Den. After unloading your luggage, which you’ve heaved over countless hills, and forced down a pot noodle to keep you going for the next 24 hours, standing under the sun with a ‘beer’ in your hand, listening to the sound of Baiana blast out of 10-foot tall speakers and watching all varieties of colourful animals dancing expressively, you get a taste of what the magical weekend of Boomtown has in store for you.
Bakar live at Hangar
The intimate environment of the Hangar in Hackney was ideal for the high energy, passionate performance from indie artist Bakar. Despite my liking of the small space for mosh pits and getting close to the performer himself, I couldn’t help but feel it wouldn’t be long before we were watching Bakar on a bigger, less personal stage, as his show’s quality was that of a festival headliner. Support acts T from T and Kasien and Krash also set the stage for the perplexing show ahead.
Four Tet at Boomtown
Of all the live shows we experienced last year, Four Tet at Boomtown festival is definitely one that stands out for us. 2 hours of the hardest techno beats around at the moment was a clear headliner for us on the Friday of Boom, even if he wasn’t headlining the festival itself. From bangers such as ‘Lush’ to a pleasantly surprising new remix of Skepta and Headie One’s ‘Back to Basics’, Four Tet smashed his slot at Boomtown. We will have the joy of seeing him again this summer, headlining Lost Village.
The Streets headlining Boomtown
After years of waiting for the opportunity to see Mike Skinner live in action, 2019 finally presented that opportunity, with The Streets securing a headline spot at Boomtown. The high expectations we acquired in suspense of seeing them was in no way let down when Mike Skinner strode onto the Lion’s Den platform and began to belt out the lyrics of ‘Turn the Page’, to which each and every one of the thousands of fans watching belted straight back at him.
In 2019, we got to see the king of Northhampton twice. In the sweltering heat of the Poco Loco stage at Boomtown and the slightly cooler but in no way quieter main stage at Lost Village, Slowthai held consistency in gassing the audience up to its highest velocity when screaming out rap lyrics to his many bangers. When Slowthai opens up a moshpit you do get a small feeling that it could be your last, however, this only exhilarates you further and forces you to think ‘well if I’m gonna get crushed, I might as well enjoy it…’
Bicep headlining Lost Village
After seeing Four Tet at Boomtown it almost felt as if the live techno we had experienced in 2019 had reached its peak, however, Bicep on the main stage at Lost Village was just as memorable and far exceeded our expectations. ‘Glue’ was a personal favourite from the wide archive of techno tracks Bicep had to offer, a song which you have to save your last nossy of the weekend for.
The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club live
On the Sunday of any festival, spirits can be at an all-time low, knowing you’re a matter of hours away from having to face the dreaded hungover coach journey back to your miserable, lifeless home town. However, moral was heightened on the Sunday of Lost Village by the collection of upbeat Funk and Soul tunes being mixed by Craig Charles on the main stage. The list of old school bangers stemmed from the likes of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ to Deee-Lite’s ‘Groove is in the Heart’. Tracks which you physically can’t not dance to, even in the most exhausted, melancholy moods.
Tyler, the Creator live at Brixton academy
For years the British people have longed for the return to the country of LA hip hop star Tyler, the Creator. After being banned from the UK for over 4 years, Tyler finally returned to the scene in 2019 announcing UK tour dates on his Instagram. As soon as this was posted our immediate prerogative was to get tickets, not caring about the price. On the night, he appeared from behind the silver curtain in his vibrant yellow suit and the crowd went insane. His performance was everything his UK fans had been waiting for for so many years.
House of Pharoahs at Headrow House
In the city centre of Leeds lies the low-key venue of Headrow house. House of Pharoahs are a rap group which we have been following for a while now and it still remains a mystery to us how they have not yet received the attention they deserve in the rap scene. This gig was insane. House of Pharoahs tore the roof down with their high-energy, high-velocity approach. The performance was about as intimate as a gig gets, in that it felt more like the artists and the audience were just mates all jumping and moshing to the same music. These are the gigs you remember the most as the effort put in by each and every one of the boys on stage was remarkable.
Skepta live at Warehouse Projects
After seeing Skepta a few times in the past, there was no doubt in our minds that this night in Manchester would be one to remember. With a support list that was good enough to hold its own event this night did not disappoint. Acts such as Flohio, Octavian and Jaykae got us into the exhilarated mood appropriate for seeing Skeppy live in action. Skepta pulled out all the best bangers from his old stuff to his new album and singles, including a surprise appearance from Headie One. After a year of great gigs and festivals, this was a great way to round it off.