The air was charged with anticipation as music lovers gather under the Jazz Cafe's roof for New Wave's new showcase, Xscape. The illustrious Jazz Cafe set the stage for an outstanding evening, centring a trio of exceptional artists – Vinch, Kali Claire, and the maestro Solomon. Each artist possesses a distinct allure, a unique offering that collectively transformed this showcase into a celebration of creativity and innovation. Vinch brings an electric charisma, Kali Claire envelops us in soulful serenades, and Solomon, the grand headliner, is poised to cast an enchanting spell through his strings.
Warming up the crowd was none other than Vinch, an artist with charm and the uncanny ability to captivate the audience from the moment he steps on stage. Causing a chorus of 'ayeeessss' to erupt within the crowd, Vinch effortlessly commands the audience's attention the moment he picks up the microphone. Midway his set, Vinch's intensity peaks, and the band feeds off his energy, resulting in an electrifying atmosphere - an impeccable set-up for a successful sold-out showcase.
“Personality and energy are an integral part of what I do,” Vinch told us after the show.
“Because I try to be the same person I am on and off stage, which I feel connects with the audience. The energy in the room is shared and infects the whole room and runs through all of us and I just try to keep it there by making sure everyone is having a great time.”
A standout feature of the Xscape showcase was its commitment to presenting diverse musical styles and genres. By curating a lineup of artists with varied backgrounds and influences, the event allowed attendees to explore music beyond their usual preferences. This exposure to new sounds and styles enabled the audience to expand their musical taste buds and discover artists they might not have encountered otherwise.
Providing his own insight on what New Wave has delivered, Vinch stated, “I[Xscape] helps me because it puts me in a space where people can respect what I do more.”
“When it comes to music I feel like the art of rap isn't as respected as other genres, but being the only rapper and holding my own allows people who may not necessarily be big rap fans, to find a new found respect for my craft especially performing it with a band. For me as an artist, it encouraged me to be more experimental and playful with my sound both when creating it, and even after it's done. It grew my respect and understanding for the art of performance and honestly inspired me in almost every way.”
In between performances, the night took refuge to the skilful DJ PDR. Crafting a feel-good ambience, weaving tracks from Amaarae's Princess Going Digital and Stormzy's The Weekend into the mix, further elevating the euphoria in the air, retaining the infectious liveliness found on stage moments before.
Next, Kali Claire, the glamorous lady of feathers and lace, takes the stage. Oozing pure excitement as she prepares to serenade the audience with her mesmerizing vocals, her sweet persona shines through as she warmly welcomes the crowd, instantly winning their hearts. The energy in the room is palpable, and it's evident that Kali is feeding off the positive vibes, allowing her vocals to flow with richness and feeling.
Throughout her set, Kali encourages the audience to embrace the moment, to be fully present and let themselves be while drifting alongside her melodies. Her soulful riffs transported the audience into a dreamlike trance. Her performance was rich. The smooth vocal play, paired with the hypnotic pace of the drums and the gentle pull of strings -created a hazy daydream-like atmosphere. As her set draws to a close, Kali Claire immortalizes the memories by taking photos with the crowd, framing the enchanting experience and creating a new memory to cherish. However, the crowd's demand for an encore beckons her back to the stage, a testament to the magic she brought to the evening.
Closing off the night, Solomon's introduction to the stage was met with the crowd's enthusiastic cheers and singular affectionate 'I love you' setting the stage for his unforgettable night. Accompanied only by his guitar, he effortlessly revealed his immense talent, drawing the audience into his world. 'Phases' was met with complete silence, as Solomon's soulful voice commanded attention. The connection with the crowd intensified when they joined in singing 'we went from strangers to lovers.'
Despite the intimate setting, the energy was electric with some of his songs like his 'No Diggity' cover inspiring the crowd to sing along, while others had them hushed in admiration. As his performance drew to a close, Solomon playfully teased the audience about being heartbroken before delivering a heartfelt last song 'sore loser'. After his planned set, the call for an encore and a friendly fight over his last song showcased the impact of his performance.
Xscape has introduced a thrilling venture, successfully nurturing the UK music scene in its expansion. What they've curated at the Jazz Cafe is a promising beginning that we eagerly anticipate blossoming further.