Set in the russet-toned, bricked up venue of Haggerston, the Signature Brew E8 was home to Kwoli Black’s first ever headline show. With notable appearances from supporting acts Zino Vinci and Shanesa, this night was made possible by an eight-week long series of gigs, titled Access All Areas, a production of events designed to introduce the best new and emerging talent.
This particular show was sold out a couple of hours before showtime. When speaking on the event's success, Kwoli said: "If you told me 3 months ago I'd start the year performing at a show as the headline I'd have laughed. So it's been a bit surreal lately."
Zino Vinci opened up the night with a vaguely structured but infectious performance of various tracks, each lasting about thirty seconds. As a result of a short sound check session, his approach to riding from one track to another in a swift fashion served his performance well. Occasionally slipping into an American accent before reminding the audience that he is from East London, his agile performance style and witty character warmed up the audience.
Shanesa graced the stage shortly after, and with no introduction to notify the audience of her presence, she immediately started to sing. Capturing the attention of everyone in the venue, the maturity of her voice was hard to miss. Shining through on her 2020 single, ‘Why Can’t I’, she set all doubts straight when she hit an E6 note at the end of her performance.
After an intermission, Kwoli Black took over the stage with drummer Kobla, bassist EJ and JSTRNGS on the strings. To mark the significance of this night they performed a variety of his songs including ‘Plugged Up’, his collaboration with Lex on ‘Wake Up’, ‘Disrup’ featuring George Hard, and his latest track ‘Cotch Freestyle’, where “every line is an IG caption”.
Kwoli comments on the experience of performing in front of his friends, family, and his fans: "While on stage I definitely got a bit emotional, tears were close. Very close. I saw my people in the crowd, I saw fans, current and new. I saw love in the crowd. I felt at home once again on that stage. I didn't want to get off. I wish my discography was bigger"
His playful energy and open dialogue served as great fillers between his songs. By the time he performed his take on ‘Aston Martin Music’, the crowd was warmed up and ready to sing along to the chorus. He soon realised the risqué nature of his lyrics and stopped his performance to playfully apologise to his mum, who was there in person to support him on his special night. He gave her an amusing disclaimer that any lyric worth disapproving was a lie, and at the risk of exposing his mother to his antics, he proceeded to restart the song.
The last 12 months have been a movie for Kwoli. He shared stories of his appearance at the Brits, his friendship with Kojey Radical, and how he has been balancing his 9-5 with his music career. This show was specially curated to celebrate his growth and the success yet to come.
To summarise his show, Kwoli tells WE ARE SOUL: "I was exhausted! There's a lot to be said about working a 9-5 and being an up and coming artist. it's not easy, not in the slightest. It's an extreme sport and the fatigue sort of hit me all at once. I went to bed with my heart full. I'm grateful to my team for making things as smooth as possible and to my band for executing so exceptionally well. They were amazing. To everyone that came and showed support, and to those that bought a ticket but couldn't make it. Thank you. I love you and I hope to see you all again real soon".
You can listen to his latest release below!