Reporting on Gigs Big Busk for Winkball

I love music. I especially love unsigned music artists who are incredibly talented, thus, I jumped at the opportunity to cover Gigs Big Busk in London recently.  A busking competition sponsored by Busk In London and the Mayor of London to support busking in the UK, as well as the wonderful array of musicians it brings with it.

Here, finalists are competing to win a number of prizes including recording time at a professional studio and other goodies from their sponsors, as well as of course, gaining the fantastic opportunity to perform at a number of unique and stunning venues throughout the competition like Liverpool Street, St Paul’s Cathedral, Battersea Power Station and finally, Westfields, where the final takes place.

 

Reporting for Winkball, we captured the event below:

Adele at Wembley Stadium

There’s something immensely euphoric and powerful about singing on the top of your lungs with 98 thousand people, reliving a past experience which really shook you, but made you stronger. Joining the other screeching voices in harmony, we collaborated in our various pitches and immersed our mutual pain and suffering to become one force to be reckoned with. It felt strangely cathartic.

I guess that is what you expect from watching Adele perform at Wembley Stadium. Adele being placed right in the centre, amidst the ordered rows upon rows of faces, blending together, sitting open mouthed in awe at her frank honesty and enchanting melodies.

The last time I had come to Wembley Stadium was to perform as a dancer at the opening ceremony for the UEFA Championship Final in 2011, and I can remember vividly the vast amount of eyes watching my every move as I stepped hesitantly onto the wet pitch. I can’t imagine what it’s like to belt out pitch perfect award winning songs to an eager audience.

Wembley stadium is a location performed by legends, and in fact the last solo female to perform at Wembley was in 1997, so whilst I sat there with my over priced glass of wine next to my equally as excited mum, I felt not only was I there to be whisked away by her stunning vocals, but seeing history be made.

Adele began her performance intertwining hilarious anecdotes of her life on tour and what she plans to do in the future, giving a real snap shot into what she is like as a person. Although retiring at 29 is quite an achievement- as well as a shock to the system no doubt, her future plans to connect with her son and spend time being a mum is touching, (whilst making bizarrely pom-poms on the side!) Her honest approach to her emotions behind each song as well as natural chatter about reality TV series and cheeky swearing made the whole audience at ease and laugh with her.

After a certain time, she began to play hit after hit continuously as if she had got into a rhythm and each song was accompanied by stunning videos and apt production that fitted the show well. Fireworks exploded out of the stage and out of the Wembley arch when she sang her song “Set fire to the rain” and confetti spurted out whilst playing “Sweet devotion”, which all took the audience by surprise. I really loved her attention to detail to her fans, with each confetti piece having hand written notes on by Adele, as well as her shooting out t-shirts to the audience with money in, and even one chair in the auditorium having a special gift hidden underneath it. I felt that she honestly wanted to create this connection with the audience and really felt grateful for us to be there supporting her. Half way through her set, she asked the audience to come together and donate to the Greenfall tower fire and highlighted the drive behind her doing so and what she encountered when she personally went down to help those affected by it, which was a despairing moment in relation to their lives, but outlined with hope by all of us coming together and raising money for the victims of Greenfall tower.

Overall, her performance was one of high calibre and talent, her vocals lifted the audience in hope, soaring above and beyond Wembley stadium and her personal anecdotes in between songs left the audience in stitches. An incredible performer and refreshingly honest woman.

Jungle X Garage Sound Splash

Brixton is known to be a real gem for live music venues, where artists from all different genres can play to an eclectic and diverse audience who appreciate a high calibre of unique music. Brixton Jamm has been an intrinsic aspect of South London nightlife for some time, gaining a valuable and loyal following that few other venues obtain. Which was then no surprise, that Brixton Jamm would host the event Jungle X Garage Sound Splash.

Jungle is a genre of electronic music that emerged during the rave days, in producer’s dark basements and grubby warehouse floors.  Stemming from the fast tempo basslines and break beats that are coherently found in a number of drum n bass artists, Jungle incorporates the classic Jamaican/Caribbean sound system culture into the rhythm, which is so inherent in South London. Brixton Jamm paid homage to this genre by hosting such impressive pioneers of Jungle at the event: Uncle Dugs, the Ragga Twins and General Levy.

Garage at Brixton Jamm

Garage emerged in the early 90s, where American House DJ Todd Edwards began to remix soulful house tracks with more time shifts and samples, creating a new experimentation with music. All it took was DJ EZ dropping one of his tracks with a sped up tempo in a London venue and Garage was born. With the emergence of sub genres like grime and UK Funky, Garage is an umbrella term for a wide variety of music. Garage music is known for its fast beats, its catchy vocals and an MC that pumps up the crowd. Although the Garage section at Sound Splash hosted DJ’s MC CKP (the first MC to bring “Olie, Olie, Olie!” to the scene) Junior Buzz and No Faking, the real star of the show was the Jungle stage where General Levy played his mega hits like “Incredible” and “Monkey Man” to the sweaty shaking mass that joined together in unison to celebrate the rhythmic beats of Jungle. Boy was it messy, but so good.

Brixton Jamm provided an unforgettable night highlighting two incredible genres that are as diverse as each other, although hands down Jungle for me, won. But what genre would win for you? Have you attended a music event that has hosted more than one genre and have you spent more time in one rather than the other? Let me know by commenting below.

Elton John at Blenheim Palace

Hold me close, oh tiny dancer!”

I’m screaming the catchy lyrics at the top of my lungs, flinging my arms out to my sides and swaying my body from side to side to the rhythm. My cheap waterproofs cling to my damp skin and my hair pastes to my forehead. All around me the audience are sitting down, appreciating the music from their seats apart from the stray drunk fans who can’t stop themselves from dancing.

The catch is, I’m sober. And I’ve gone to a Elton John gig with my mum as a chaperone. But honestly, I’m secretly enjoying it. Well, not that secretly.

Woodstock, Oxfordshire

Elton John is a legend. No matter what your music taste is, your age, or even your feelings towards the musician, he is a musical legend. With fifty years of experience within the music industry under his belt, collaborating on more than thirty albums to date and having been awarded enough Grammy’s and Brit Awards to last a lifetime, Elton John is a veteran in the music industry. Although you wouldn’t be able to tell- because of his fresh enthusiasm and flamboyance which sparkles through every public moment shared.

So when my mum wanted to go VIP (oh how fabulous darling) to see Elton John at a venue in Oxfordshire, I couldn’t resist. The gig was sent in the stunning location of Blenheim Palace, a world heritage site which is filled with quintessentially British architecture stemming from the 17th Century, with relics of the past on every corner, and examples of national heritage through the form of art and sculpture. Taking a stroll around the grounds before the gig was incredibly rewarding; with beautiful gardens, manicured lawns and tinkling fountains, I could see why the palace was a tourist attraction in itself. As a music venue, gigs at Blenheim Palace are orchestrated in such a way that the elements and architecture of the building are advantageous to the performance, locking in the sound and causing it to echo off the walls into the crowd, creating an incredible effect as well as a pleasing visual.

Gardens of BlenheimElton John is an incredible performer as well, (of course you would expect him to be after so many years of experience). Turning up on time (I do hate it when artists turn up late making audiences wait for purely selfish reasons) dressed in a glamorous sparking coat and donning his signature cross earring and outlandish glasses, he welcomed the audience with excitement. Despite the continuous rain and some audience members being as stationary as a statue, Elton John managed to pump the crowd into action, causing many to sing with joy, stand on chairs, and dance shirtless (the last two were most definitely linked to intoxication). He played all of his greatest hits, as well as a few from his new album, satisfying all those who came to watch him. What I found hilarious was the feedback he gave himself after every song, shrieking, “hot damn!” “hell yeah!” “come on!” and “that was great!” to the audience about his efforts. Enthusiastic and slightly arrogant some might argue, he does have every right to be; with his incredible piano skills which masterfully slid from side to side over the keys, fingers dancing in time to the beat, and his powerful voice that bounced off the walls captivating the audience.

VIP in BlenheimGoing VIP to the event however, was not as glamorous as it seemed. Being invited to a special drinks reception within the palace itself prior to the event did feel exclusive, as well as the unlimited amount of sparkling wine I am sure did please many, (although not the drivers like myself) but the canapes which resembled cardboard and the snacks that were given out earlier than scheduled and tasted of poor quality, caused an uproar amongst guests. The extravagant area of VIP which once was filled with modest excitable guests, was now filled with mouthy starving visitors who even started a fight with the main organiser of the event, (you have seen nothing until you see one man dressed as Elton John fighting with an equally posh and middle aged man over snacks), the moment was something out of Eastenders.

Needless to say, the event was highly entertaining, (as it would be if you were surrounded by intoxicated punters on unlimited booze interacting with sober slightly aged audience members) amusing, and fun. Who knew an Elton John gig could be so rad?