Monday night was my debut headline show at The Enterprise in Camden which was sold out! Thank you so much to every single person who came down, and to Genesis Elijah providing heavy support, who made it proper special evening!
There’s been some amazing feedback this week, including, from:
Click the image above to head over to SB.TV
“The last thing expected when entering the sweat-inducing jukebox known as the Enterprise is something cool and refreshing. That, however, is exactly what Context brought to the table (or the stage, in this case). Having caught up with the man himself prior to his performance, he underlined the fact that the crowd could expect something different with his live performance and that the live band would create a unique atmosphere. He wasn’t wrong…
The University of East Anglia economics student grinded together a spectrum of genres to create the unique experience which he delivered with pure fire and passion. It’s difficult to allocate Context’s music to a particular section in music, as he elaborated:
“My style of music is like ambient, honest, melodic, English, dubstep… it’s weird, it’s hard to put it in a box really. There’s bits of garage in it, even RnB – it’s honest garage-inspired music I suppose”
It was around 10pm. The Manchester derby being screened downstairs in the venue had come to an end. Upstairs, the live band was ready; drumsticks poised, keys waiting for the cue and picks prepped. The starlet took to the stage, with a ripple of applause and a humble, no-nonsense aura. That’s just the kind of down-to-earth man he is. In parallel with his name, he introduced himself succinctly setting out his situation, to a crowd of industry individuals, a hardcore contingent from Norwich and a handful of intrigued music enthusiasts. Without further ado, Context stormed into the set; and immediately impressed those who were completely new to his style, like myself. ‘My background’s a mining town, you will never see me give up or start lying down’ he beamed during the curious but creative Off With Their Heads. To anybody listening it was glaringly evident that this is someone who is as much a fan of music as a creator, the range of aural ingredients in his tracks astounded me and begged the question – who are his influences?
“Quite a lot of people influence me really. The Streets is quite a big one, a lot of people say my sound is like a modern version or a re-interpretation of The Streets. I like anyone who does music and they’re unashamedly themselves, it’s quite a dangerous thing to do but people like Mike Skinner and Giggs are great at it.”
Perhaps what SB.TV enjoyed most about Context is how comfortable he made the crowd feel with his lyrics, his flow and his subject matter. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of rappers with the same content which only a minor portion of the fan base can relate to. Context speaks about life’s quirks and quests which are applicable and empathetic to most ears. He also takes advantage of his education, not holding back on his linguistic flair; even causing myself to look up the definitions of some of his lyrics. His flow allowed him to put extra emphasis on his words, which enticed the audience to pay extra attention to what he was actually saying rather than taking it for granted. The most impressive component of his performance was his acapella, an extract from his SB.TV Warm Up Session which was recorded almost a year ago now
Context raised eyebrows with his rhymes and references, and demonstrated the depth and experience which even a veteran MC would be proud of. There is a buffet of opportunity ahead of this talent, which leaned me towards the question – what are his goals and where does he see himself in a year’s time?
“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing but take it up a notch. I mean if somebody gives me a nice dotted line to write my name on, I’m not going to argue! I just want to continue in the direction I’m going in because I want this to be my job, do you know what I mean? I’ve basically made it all up as I go along really, I haven’t really had a goal or a specific aim to be in this position by this day or anything.”
Gigseen Blog also reviewed the gig! Here’s what they had to say (click HERE to read the original)
“Gradually becoming hotter and sweatier, there was a real buzz happening in the sold out venue – one of the things I love best about debut gigs. Set up on the tiny stage was a drum kit, keyboard/synth and guitar, the lights went off and on walked Context’s live band, a trio of sharply dressed men, followed shortly after by the man himself. The crowd went crazy!
Straight away, they kicked off with one of the tracks that helped establish Context as an artist, Off With Their Heads; the video for which features some of the most influential people in the music and blogging scene including SB.TV’s Jamal Edwards, Ed Sheeran, Genesis Elijah, journalist Keiran Yates and singer Well Red. But what the gig delivered was something I don’t think anyone was quite expecting. Each track was brought to life by the live band and created an atmosphere that only live music can produce. What was even more exciting was the further development of Context’s sound through the live instruments; electric guitar solos ignited the previous mellower tones of Context’s work, the synth added a new dimension to each track, and some seriously infectious beats glued the whole thing together.
Context seemed very natural on stage and truly humbled by the whole experience; “I just want to thank everyone for coming, especially those that travelled all the way from Norwich…I’m just happy that you lot all want to listen to my weird style of music…”. The transformation from record to stage is always a daunting move for any artist, particularly at such an early stage of a career, and with this style of music, but Context really made it work. As he confidently rattled through his exquisitely written verses, there were occasional points where a smile crept onto his face and a glimmer appeared in his eyes suggesting he couldn’t quite believe what he was doing, a sudden wave of realisation mixed with extreme euphoria. It was something very special to see.
Context gave an absolutely brilliant performance, featuring some of his most recent tracks like Listening To Burial, which went down a storm, his current single, Drowning and his Fire In The Booth feature he did for SB.TV. His delivery was tight with meticulous attention to detail and a compelling energy and flow with the band. With similarities to the all-round musician, producer, singer and rapper that is Labrinth (well known for growing up in a church-going, ultra musical family), the band’s embellishments and style reminded me of his live performances, particularly during the electric guitar parts, which is not a bad place to start!
Context showed his skill not only through his often dark and direct song-writing and rapping ability, but with his stage presence, too, vibing off the band, who for me, really made the show. It was an ambitious move to have a live set so far removed from the original records, but they definitely pulled it off. In fact, they blew the roof off last night, and I’m so excited to have been at the first show. Context is an insanely talented guy who has already seen huge success, even just in the last two years. He proved that he is a truly adaptable artist – something quite rare in today’s music world – and saw the acceptance of his work from an eclectic mix of people last night, privileged and fired up to be part of something so inspiring. This is only the start for Context, so watch out!”