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Dropout UK @ ILuvLive, Hoxton Bar & Grill

Music Lovers Have Something To Look Forward To On A Monday!

Over the last year and a half, ILUVLIVE has built up its reputation for being one of the biggest industry showcases in the country and based on last night, you’d be hard pressed to argue with the ILUVLIVE team when they describe this event as ‘UK’s premier home-grown live music event’ because as Ras Kwame came on stage to introduce the night and kick off the proceedings, the basement of the Queen of Hoxton was completely filled to the brim with a couple hundred people still outside on the queue or left upstairs in the restaurant being unable to catch the showcase.

As always at ILUVLIVE, the act to open the show was the ‘open mic’ winner from the previous ILUVLIVE event. His name was Junior and he performed two songs with the ILUVLIVE band that didn’t waste any time in switching into gear as they sounded very good from the off and even overshadowed Junior’s vocals at times during his performance. Nice start to the show but Junior never quite showed up for what should have been the performance of his career.

Aiden Coker took to the stage next along with his 2-piece band and backing vocals with so much energy and stage presence. The emerging hip-hop artist from South London came with very clear lyrics, witty punch-lines and his songs did more than work with his live band. The acapella freestyle in the middle of his set may have exposed his frailties as a rapper though and thankfully on his final song, the band was on tow to lift the performance as he invited emerging singer/songwriter Jareth to also lend her vocals to the performance.

Lily McKenzie was next to bless the stage with her full 4-piece band and they kicked off with a stripped down live rendition of her Funkystepz-produced buzz single ‘for you’ before they set about giving the otherwise acoustic ‘so crazy’ the full live band treatment with both songs sounding very well crafted and delivered by the band. The star of the performance was always going to be Lily McKenzie as she let those rich vocals of hers shine through. She closed out her set with a brand new song titled ‘circles’.

On the back of yet another band change, former X-factor contestant and easily one of the crowd favourites, Mike Hough kicked off his set with a cover version of Chris Brown’s ‘Super Human’ that the ladies in the crowd seemed to love. He went on to what he described as his forthcoming second single and written by Jermaine Riley (FDM), ‘one for you’. A catchy mid-tempo pop song which his band absolutely nailed and then he closed out with his forthcoming debut single ‘hero’. Mike showed great stage presence all through and his set was thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd.

I knew very little about this next artist, Lauren Mason until tonight. Lauren is a very powerful performer with strong vocals by all accounts even though her band slightly overpowered her on that second song. She was introduced by Ras Kwame as a grime vocalist but may I offer my reservations about that here. She went on to perform a medley of classic UK Garage covers that went down a treat with the audience and her final song was a rather amazing and cheeky performance of a song about her “ex” titled ‘Jay’. I absolutely loved it!

We witnessed the final band change of the night as the ILUVLIVE band came back onto the stage before Ras Kwame introduced the very beautiful Yasmin who kicked off with her forthcoming second single ‘Finish Line’ produced by Labrinth which the band totally brought to life. She does have an amazing voice and I cannot wait to see her live. She went into her rendition of Devlin’s smash hit ‘runaway’ before easing into a cover of Kanye West’s ‘runaway’. Very cleverly and beautifully done if I may say so. Her final track of the night was her debut single, the Shy FX-produced ‘On My Own’ which the crowd really liked.

Finally it was time for the headline act to take the stage. After he asked the audience to appreciate Ras Kwame, Wretch 32 wasted little time getting into the music. He began with two freestyles with the band on tow. Amazingly clear vocals from the emcee, a sick flow and very dope lyrics; this was definitely the highlight of the evening with the crowd rapping along with Mr. 32 even on his freestyles! The connection with the band was on point as they were vibing off of each other and it sounded great plus his banter with the crowd was very good to see as he performed the “single before the single”, ‘Be Cool’ off of his breakthrough album ‘Wretchrospective’. He then brought L to the stage to perform his forthcoming lead single ‘traktor’ and at this point, the ILUVLIVE crowd was practically eating from his palms with the crowd screaming out the last word on each line of the ‘traktor’ hook and reciting back the now-famous ‘Jeremy Kyle show’ line every time Wretch 32 took it there. This was the perfect close to the night and if you hadn’t been enjoying the show, Wretch 32 made sure you left the Queen of Hoxton venue very happy that you came out tonight.

The next ILUVLIVE event on January 24th is a MUST after tonight!

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