In celebration of ILUVLIVE’s 5th birthday, a whole host of artists both young and older, musical veterans and fresh talents gathered at Sound nightclub, Leicester Square for a night that encompassed exactly what ILUVLIVE is about. Headlined by UK man of the moment, Bashy, the 1st June was definitely a night of high expectations.

Hosts of the evening Twin B and Ras Kwame took to the stage as a large crowd began to form from the stream of people walking through the door. As more and more people filled both floors, the place became hot and humid, urging guests to fan themselves constantly. The evening’s hosts grabbed a mic each and drew the crowd closer to the stage in anticipation of the night ahead. The two winners from last month’s open mic competition started the celebrations. Slightly nervous from the huge turnout, Belisa sets the pace with a slow and soulful ballad, then R Young rapped his way to an applause with a fire of confidence. Twin B span some records for the eager crowd until attacca passante were ready to supply the funky sound to everyone. Unfortunately the singers struggled to be heard over the drums and booming bass but still received an appropriate applause from everyone at Sound.

People talked, drinks were bought, and equipment was assembled in the second break. The venue turned back into a nightclub as DJ Twin B threw on some old school tunes. The tight crowd soon broke down into a huddle of dancers in the middle of the floor. Wretch 32, Ghetts and Chipmunk were seen standing against the wall at the back, keeping their swagger intact.

Before long the beautiful Kelly

Le Roc came to the stage to perform a few tracks from her new album and keep us dancing through the set. Her energy and experience served her well as she went into the legendary song ‘My Love’, giving the people at her feet something to scream and cheer about!

Ras Kwame and Twin B, ‘black and dec’ as they called themselves kept us all highly attentive and eager for the headlining act; Bashy, who’s debut album Catch Me If You Can was released the very same day. They then brought on this month’s open mic contestants, girl after girl, boy after boy the 9 of them impressed us in their own way. When votes were cast by crowd noise, poet James Masiah and two-piece act Master Apps & Chockz got through to the final with the beat box and MC double act winning by an inch.

People leaned against the balcony on the upper level and watched those on the floor below dancing to the sound of DJ Twin’s record collection. The likes of Ms Dynamite, Donaeo, Lady Ny and J2K were spotted moving through the masses as they made a fashionably late entrance.

UK producer Baby J came on with Dynamite Mc to give us a little taste of something out of the ordinary. Rapper Million Dan replaced Dynamite MC on stage at the start of the next song and hit the audience with some adrenaline . Finally, BabyJ’s cover of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’ got hands clapping and feet moving. They received an almighty applause when they made an exit.

In the third interval Twin span some new tracks that had ravers on their feet skanking hard. Those who weren’t dancing were waiting patiently for what was to come next.

Bashy made the wait truly worthwhile, as he launched himself on stage sporting his Bish Bosh Bash t-shirt. ILUVLIVE guests swiftly made their way to the front and those upstairs got as close to the balcony as possible. After introducing himself, he gave us a tour of his old life with Before Before taken from his new album, identifying with all the lyrics he spat, the crowd went mental for him. Knowing him to a great storyteller, we listened attentively to his hilarious barbershop story that he told us before he invited Shaun Williams to help him get the audience singing along through Living My Dream. His accapella of Change was a deep analysis of the mistakes he’d made throughout his life that had everyone thinking about theirs. H Boogie was next to join the charming young man as he held everyone’s attention flawlessly. The two of them performed Wishes with unseen amounts of swagger and dynamic energy between them. A huge roar from all sides of venue did it great justice. The Day Before I Die with singer Charles Anonymous seemed to touch home, not only with Bashy, but with many members of the audience. Teaching us the words to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, he got us all prepared for the final song from his set. The upbeat party track was a nice change to the melodic sounds beforehand. With everyone participating it wasn’t surprising that he received a mammoth round of applause after the song.

After a short break where DJ Kayper hit the decks it was time for the PA sections of the night and they certainly didn’t disappoint with KIG and Gracious K getting the crowd moving with their dancers and Bring It Back getting the audience up on stage to join in with theirs. Shystie showed us all what a talent she is and is definitely back with a bang and Maxwell D rounded off the night with some Serious old skool garage. But if you think the party was then over you’d be mistaken. Twin B (Alex not Alec for aficionados) then hit the decks and kept the crowd rocking through til lights up at 2am.

A mammoth session it was. Just imagine what they’ll do when they make it to 10?!

Words by Lawrence Gichigi