Sunday marked another historic day in the careers of Grime collective Boy Better Know, as their Takeover event at the O2 arena was a huge success.
On the same weekend as Reading Festival and Notting Hill Carnival, BBK had tough competition from other events attracting their key demographic to the event, especially considering the high ticket prices. But the day 1 fans and the new era Grime fans came in big numbers, filling out most of the main arena for the headline show. However, despite the positive energy buzzing throughout the entire venue, there was a lack of the intimate atmosphere that you get in smaller venues. While it is good for the scene that a Grime show could be put on at a venue this big, it felt like they had outgrown themselves, become victims of their own success, in the way that their exponentially growing popularity makes their shows suffer.
Some will argue that size doesn't matter, it's what you do with it, and they did a lot: a roller disco, a BBQ, skate park, 5-a-side football, cinema screenings, more acts performing in 'The Den'. There was a lot on offer, but long queues and clashes made it difficult to choose what to do. In the end, soaking up the roasting sun in the skatepark/football zone was a good way to spend a few hours. Side note: Skepta is rubbish at football. Donning their own custom made Nike football shirts with '0 no photos', the Grime stars mingled with their supporters, as they have always done, displaying the honest, down to earth connection with the fans that has characterised their rise to fame over the past decade.
As the main arena gradually filled, Afrobeats/Dancehall/Hip-Hop/Grime prodigy J Hus lifted the room with Spirit, and was the perfect warm up before the headline act. That's Not Me kicked off the headline show. The award winning single from the Adenuga brothers, Skepta and Jme, gave us the moment we'd all been waiting for. That unmistakeably retro beat never fails to ignite a crowd.
Being a BBK show, rather than just the two leading stars of the crew, the headline set was more spread out among the MCs. This unfortunately meant no songs from Skepa's Blacklisted album. Fans can't be too disappointed though, with the guest appearances of Grime veteran Lethal Bizzle and UK rap legend Giggs, who brought out his mate known as 'Drake'.
The setlist could do with some tweaking and the sound quality of some of the mixes wasn't quite right, but just being there felt special. This was a significant day in the genre's history. Just 4 years ago the same artists were headlining Kentish Town Forum. What's next, the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury? They're Taking Over and it's working.
News | April 12,2017