Following the announcement that two of their artists, Kate Tempest and Young Fathers, had been nominated for the Mercury Prize this year, Big Dada decided to arrange an impromptu event titled ‘Big Dada Disco’ to celebrate the success of the nominations.
The event was described as being “at a secret Brixton venue with a performance from Kate Tempest and a super special secret guest” and being the music lovers that we are at Gigslutz, we weren’t going to miss out on such a rare chance to see Kate Tempest in an intimate setting before she inevitably moves further into the public eye following her Mercury nomination and so we took up the invitation from our good friends at Big Dada and Ninja Tune and made our way there.
The location was emailed to us a few hours before the event, as was the identity of the special guest performer, who turned out to be Young Fathers and with the anticipation of watching two potential Mercury Prize winners perform, we wandered down a pitch black alleyway and arrived at the secret location with huge expectations. With a tiny, exclusive audience, the atmosphere was electric, the stage was set for an amazing experience and it is safe to say that we weren’t let down.
Young Fathers were up first and they performed an intense and dramatic set, full of passion and emotion that saw them play the majority of tracks from their Mercury nominated album Dead. With the ability to perform in such a way that has the entire audience on the edge of their proverbial seats throughout, it is easy to see why Young Fathers have made such an impact in the music industry over the last few years and with an album of such boundary pushing quality as Dead, it has to be said that they fully deserve their nomination. Were they to end up winning the grand prize, it would be no shame at all as they have really produced a body of work that makes them stand out and does not follow any of the blueprints of their peers; they are certainly a unique act and one that represents the diverse sound of British urban music wholly. If you get the opportunity to see these guys perform anytime soon, take that chance as watching them perform was an experience like no other.
The person tasked with the almost impossible challenge of following Young Fathers powerful set was of course Kate Tempest who, as one of the favourites to take home the grand prize in October, was the perfect artist to follow her label-mates on stage and taking to the stage alongside her live band, Tempest performed a headline set with the energy and dynamism that makes it easy to see why she is one of the favourites for the prize.
Also playing a number of tracks from her nominated album Everybody Down, the audience, the majority of whom were industry insiders and Big Dada employees, were visibly thrilled to be watching Tempest; cheering profusely after every track and dancing at every opportunity, it was evident from the offset that the Brockley born, spoken word rapper was a hugely popular figure.
We spoke briefly to both Kate Tempest and Alloysious Massaquoi of Young Fathers, who were both very humble upon being congratulated about their respective nomination for one of the UK’s most prestigious music prizes whilst Tempest also stated numerous times throughout her performance that this was “an unbelievable time” and that “being nominated is just a dream”.
With the winner announced on 30th October, Big Dada, whose recent history in the competition includes 2009 winner Speech Debelle, will have an anxious wait to find out whether they have triumphed yet again and with two acts with the ability of Kate Tempest and Young Fathers, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have every hope of seeing one of their artist crowned the victor once more.