There was more to Islington than organic cafes and gastro pubs last night as MTV’s Brand New took over the Assembly Hall. Over two days, Katy B and Sam Smith headlined the annual showcase of unsigned artists as voted for by their fans. Let’s take a look shall we?
I was so disappointed I missed out on George Ezra’s performance, but made it on time to watch Ella Eyre bring her enormous energy and hair to the stage. This dynamic ball of fire did not stop! She covered her latest hit Deeper and got everyone jumping to Waiting All Night, her hit collaboration with Rudimental. There’s no doubt she is enormously talented and we’re sure to hear more of her soon- she’s on the Wireless festival lineup this year- but her big voice in a little venue was a bit overwhelming at times. Dare I say, she had more stage presence than headlining act Katy B?…
Katy B’s hit Lights On has been a radio staple ever since it’s release in 2010- there were alot of excited whoops when she launched into this song. Katy has a great voice and although she sounded pitch perfect, I feel like she didn’t need to jazz up her performance with two backing dancers on such a small stage- it distracted from the real talent, her voice.
The second night opened with the velvety smooth voice that is Kwabs- one of my favourite artists to be shortlisted- and he didn’t disappoint. He hushed a chatty crowd with his soulful voice. His style isn’t like anyone I’ve come across- I definitely think we’ll be hearing more from him in the future. He started with his current single Wrong or Right and ended with a bit of an MTV Unplugged moment as the stage cleared and he sang Perfect Ruin to an enthralled audience.
Next up was Joel Compass, who had an AMAZING band supporting him! MckNasty– brother of Labrinth and drummer for Wretch 32- nearly stole the show with his beats. What is up with the water in the McKenzie household?! I digress…despite his awkwardness, I did like Joel Compass. His stage presence wasn’t powerful enough to hush a very packed out hall, but he’s got good potential- I’m going to put it down to nerves! He ended his set with Run, a definite crowd pleaser.
Drum roll please!…ending the showcase on a very overexcited high was Sam Smith who had flown all the way from LA especially for the night. My favourite part was his stripped down version of Latch as well as the sing-a-long friendly La La La. Sam was just so darn likeable! He was humble, engaging, and even when singing the more powerful parts of his songs- he made it look so effortless. He’s the male equivalent of Emeli Sande- and that’s not just because they have similar ‘dos.
Bluey and Becca did an awesome job presenting- more live showcases please MTV!
So…ending the evening with a group shot. Too much talent in one photo! The triple threat that is Bluey Robinson and over there on the right is Master Shortie who had just flown in from L.A …jealous? me? Pfffft. Let’s cease with the LA talk *side eye* I don’t think I even remember what sunshine feels like- hence that special shade of January pale I have going on.
Here are some videos I took from the showcase! You can also find them on my Youtube channel.
The winner will be announced on Monday 3rd February- who’re you rooting for?