Sunday September 18th, saw the hilarious A Dot Comedian welcome an impressive mix of singers, poets and speakers to hit the stage, with a special guest performance from chart topping vocalist Josh Kumra.
London is a throbbing hub of new UK talent and shows like the Love Lounge and our very own Flavour Live, are providing British artists with the perfect platform to show that they can go just as hard as their counterparts across the pond. On a mission to source the best venues, top acts and most entrepreneurial young people, Flavour made its way over to Brixton’s Plan B to check out singers Rachel Kerr and Dionne Reid , Chaleboy The Poet, motivational speaker Action Jackson and of course ‘Don’t Go’ chart topper Josh Kumra.
Arriving at the venue, I was ushered through to the performance area, where was able to get comfortable on a special press sofa that had been set up for journalists and photographers. I had no idea what to expect from the bi-monthly event, which promised a ‘unique, vibrant and inspiring’ experience, but hopeful I sat back and enjoyed the amazing live house band vibe on stage with popular up-tempo melodies. The showcase was founded by 23 year old entrepreneur Jeffery Antwi (pictured below with Josh Kumra) back in 2009, with the first showcase held in January 2010, when he decided he wanted to ‘empower communities and young adults based on the notion of Love’. Recently recognised for his efforts by BBC Apprentice winner Tim Campbell, the successful business man graciously found the time to greet my colleague and i just before the show kicked off.
A Dot Comedian bounded on at 9pm, engendering laughs without even speaking, his comedic mannerisms got the large crowd going instantly and the mass were in store for a treat later on when A Dot hilariously returned dressed in full African attire. After a short musical skit with the band, he made way for a slightly coy Josh Kumra who joked about missing his sound check to enjoy his greater love, Nandos. As soon as he began playing the melody to his Wretch 32 collaboration ‘Don’t Go’, the lively crowd cheered with recognition and Josh proved his solo version to be a hit all on its own. His second track and third song ‘Oak Tree’ were mostly unknown by the crowd but Josh’s silky vocal and lyrics moved everyone in the room.
Touching also on human emotions and actions in relation to the love theme was artistically thought provoking Chaleboy The Poet. Presenting the crowd with three intellectually put together pieces of spoken word, ‘Boyhood to Manhood’, ‘Four Letter Word’ and ‘Wordsmith’, he not only entertained but informed and amused us all. Many of his lines got the crowd cheering and clicking in agreement about love, growth and relationships. Some of his observations were almost as though they had come from the mind of a man twice his age and at the same time were impressively in tune with modern day interactions. Leaving the stage to rapturous applaud, he paved the way for the next few acts who followed suit by giving equally amazing performances.
The first of the two gorgeous female vocalists was Dionne Reid, who performed three very different songs. Covering the popular Chris Brown and Chipmunk track ‘Champion’, she got the crowd to sing along and warm to her before performing her own original creations. Bringing in a refreshing Caribbean vibe, Dionne performed ‘Airbrush’, which she explained was all about not letting negativity seep in to your life – keeping it airbrushed out. Highly relatable and catchy, the inspiring attitude of the song was received amazingly by the crowd. Her finale was an emotional song called ‘Angel’ which pulled in the audience and depicted the kind of love we’ve all felt at one time or another.
A Dot climbed back on stage to the crowd still reeling from Dionne’s performance and injected a sense of playfulness by inviting members of the crowd to hop on stage for a ‘Teach Me How To Dougie’ competition. Watching from the bar i felt the crowd get fully involved, cheering on the contestants best attempts. After three or four rounds, a deserving female was chosen as the winner by the crowd and was awarded a special prize by event founder Jeffery.
Next to grace the stage was the statuesque Rachel Kerr, who boomed on with all the confidence captured within Dionne’s track ‘Airbrush’. Sporting a pair of African print shorts and flowing black curls, she reminded me of the UK’s answer to Beyoncé but exuded her own original vibe. Her first track kept the crowd excited with an ice-breaking clapping section. Also introducing her Caribbean roots into her music, Rachel performed ‘His Love’ as her second track. ‘Hold My Hand’ was her final song which she co-wrote with her brother, her performance was spectacularly theatrical and moving at the same time. ‘His Love’ brought in her important Christian grounding but was also significant for anyone one with a loving bone in their body.
Bringing the show to an inspirational close and delivering a highly religious motivational message was Action Jackson. Delivering some great messages on prosperity and enrichment, there were many comments of support for his words and the audiences’
identification with his sentiment was clear. Gripping The Bible and ending with the Lord’s Prayer, it did feel slightly unfitting for the venue as alcohol was being enjoyed and stylish figure hugging outfits were on show, but the entire audience did enjoy his presence on stage and it was great end to an amazing show.
Sunday 18th September marked the tenth successful Love Lounge showcase, since its launch early last year. Jeffery’s team have managed to create a very exciting event brand, with shows held across London in a variety of great locations, which cleverly incorporate games and comedy into an impressive live show.
Visit the Love Lounge website for information on the next show on November 13th: www.loveloungeevents.com or email: email@example.com and keep up with their events on Facebook: LoveLoungEvents
Words by Catherine Ababio