Our gig reviewer and photographer Petra Gent went along Electric Brixton to see Fat White Family and Alabama 3 play at the Fightback Brixton fundraiser on Thursday night. Word and photos by Petra.
It is rare to enter a room where the feeling of community spirit and positive energy is so apparent. The event had a very impressive line up, but I do feel the premise behind the evening contributed heavily to the feel-good atmosphere in the venue. The gig was put on to raise funds for local housing campaigners fighting unfair evictions and demolition of social housing.
The night was organised by Urban75 founder and Brixton Buzz co-founder Mike Slocombe, who spoke infectiously and with passion about the current plight of local Brixton residents faced with the ever growing problem of the decrease in social housing and increase in the cost of properties in Brixton.
The performers all had their roots in Brixton. First up was Ese Music – a local singer songwriter who can often be found busking outside Brixton Tube. With vocals and guitar her attractive mix of soul jazz, rock and blues warmed the room up beautifully from the onset.
Next on the stage was local rapper Potent Whisper, who was joined by local spoken word artist Lara Lee, now famous for appearing on BBC One’s The Voice. They teamed up to produce the anthemic hip-hop number Brixton First – a song I keep clicking replay on.
Our third treat for the night was a slice of pure energy from new wave South Londoner Misty Millar. At only 21 her performance oozed attitude and power with vocals that ranged from impassioned screams to whispers of heartfelt intensity.
With the audience fully in the party spirit there was an air of electric anticipation before the Fat White Family appeared. This was my first experience of seeing them perform and having read that they were ‘the most dangerous band in Britain’ I was ready to have my socks rocked off. I was not disappointed.
The Fat Whites had every single person in the room jumping – but this was possibly the friendliest mosh pit I have ever experienced. Front man Lias Saoudi did his usual trick of stripping off during the first number, and the crowd wriggled and writhed almost as much as he did through the 45 minute set of intricate discords, screamed lyrics and intense, penetrating hypnotic rhythms. Wild and anarchic does not even begin to describe it.
The Fat White Family were a hard act to follow but, famed for their live performances, Alabama 3 were definitely the guys to do it. Known for supplying the theme tune to hit TV series The Sopranos with ‘Woke Up This Morning’ there is, of course, so much more to discover. The immediate energy as they opened their set had me hooked, but it was the vocals from Aurora Dawn that really completed the sound for me.
With charismatic and slightly tongue-in-cheek performances from Rob Spragg and Jake Black (aka Larry Love and The Very Reverend Dr D Wayne Love respectively) the important message of the evening was put across in no uncertain terms as Jake Black spoke between songs about the Brixton Social Housing cause. Something that he clearly feels passionate about along with the crowd.
We were also kept entertained throughout the night with DJs from the Brixton Offline Club – including Ms Jizzy Rascal, DJ editor and Ben Port – and the Handson Family.
A truly memorable night for Brixton for an important local cause.