Monday, August 22, 2011
Flyover Show 2011, Saturday 20th August 2011...under a flyover in Hockley
Once again the fourth annual Flyover Show showcased a fine range of musical talent in a decidedly unusual venue, from established acts through to complete newcomers (including some nervous pre teen rappers...bless ‘em). Coming just a matter of days after some of the worst, most pointless ‘riots’ in this country’s history (let’s face it, they only succeeded in dividing what’s left of our ‘society’ even more than ever before) this could easily have felt less like a celebration and more like a wake. That it didn’t is probably down to the endless enthusiasm of Mr Flyover himself, Soweto Kinch, and a small (it looked like a slightly smaller crowd than in previous years to me) but perfectly well informed cross section of the people of Birmingham.
As with previous years the bill was a real mix of genres, from the soulful old school sounds of Omar (there’s still Nothing Like This) through to a bit of drum n’bass courtesy of Goldie, some jazz from Julian Joseph, Jay Phelps and Soweto and rappers a plenty...step forward Juice Aleem, Why G, Try My Angle, B City Collective, Ghetts and Jonzi D. This eclectic blend of styles reached its peak with Goldie’s Band, a random bunch of young musicians recruited for a BBC TV show. Only half the band were here tonight but it was enough to give a flavour of how successfully they (and Goldie) had somehow managed to combine everything from fret melting rock guitar to sitar and harmonica.
New Yorker Baba Israel also deserves an honourable mention for introducing the crowd to the wonders of hip hop didgeridoo as well as generally spreading the message of peace, love and understanding that we could all do with heeding right now. Impressive beat boxing too.
The undisputed highlight though was a stunning headlining set from Akala, kicking off with a frenetic 8 minute rap covering everything from his troubled upbringing through to the dangers of celebrating gangster culture in rap and the brain numbing influence of MTV. It was inspirational stuff... best summed up simply as ‘knowledge is power’...let’s hope the youth were listening eh, they seem to need all the help they can get right now. Smashing stuff is easy, smashing the system takes brains.