Being a 20-year-old music enthusiast, going to gigs was second nature to me pre-COVID times. So, I was eager to attend Live is Alive!. I went with my housemate Vahri, we were so thrilled to have plans on a Friday evening after a prolonged year of lockdowns and tier systems.
We arrived at 7.45pm, giving us plenty of time to find our seats, order a drink and get settled. It was clear that Brighton Festival cared for everyone’s safety as they respected government guidelines by setting down house rules - we were told “seat dancing” had to replace ordinary dancing. This made me chuckle as how do you “seat dance”?
The gig started at 8pm with Brighton based singer, MC Tiawa, whose voice instantly gave me Amy Winehouse vibes, which was further enhanced by her vocals. Tiawa’s music ranged between chill soul, 90s hip-hop and Latin folk with many songs sung in Portuguese. I couldn’t help myself from bopping my head along to her chill and calming voice.
After Tiawa sang about five songs, we took a quick break and then Super Dupes were up.
Super Dupes consists of six talented instrumentalists: two on trumpets, two on guitars and two on drums. They created groovy music ranging between funk, jazz, Afrobeat and fusion. One of my housemate’s and mines guilty pleasures is jazz, so we found ourselves fully immersed during this set. Each piece flowed and merged into one another which kept the tempo and excitement going. I often looked around to the crowd and saw that many of them were bopping to the beat, and cheers were heard all around - it was then that I realised, I was “seat dancing”!
Super Dupes were on for about 20 minutes and then it was time for another mini-break, with AFLO. and the poets next up.
AFLO. the poet (she/her) began with spoken word, mixed with a rhythmic flow. Her piece spoke volumes about the Black Lives Matter movement which I was really moved by. Priss (she/they) is a poet and spoken word artist, she told their stories and lived experience through verses, bars and pars, which was really empowering to hear. Khanyisa (they/them) is a soulful singer/songwriter, who mixed soul, jazz, folk, and funk, to share their story. The audience was cheering in agreement with everything that was being said. After they individually performed, they finished with a collaborative piece of beats poetry, fusing their stories to express what it is like to be a black woman in the 21st century.
We took another break before the last performance of the evening, Dakka Skanks.
Dakka Skanks mixed hard reggae, ska, dub, and punk rhythms in a unique and contemporary way. Clara Byrne’s, the lead vocalist, disclosed present-day issues through loud and powerful expression. These hard-hitting vocals were broken up by jazzy tones and a melodica instrumental. The crowd was loving it as I noticed much more “seat dancing” taking place!
Vahri and I thoroughly enjoyed the gig, we will certainly attend another in the future!