Walking into Greggs after the Joe Fox gig in Think Tank Underground, I see posters from The X Factor event that had just wrapped up in the Metro Radio Arena. Kids are talking about Honey G. I’m not angry, I respect the hustle. Sometimes you’ve got to make money and get your name out there one way or another, even if its as the laughing stock of the country. Its irritating though, because I’ve just come from a very good gig, where there was less people in the crowd than there were acts on the bill for The X Factor.
I get it though. Not everyone is about supporting local or up and coming talent. Sometimes its more about the hype around an artist than the quality of music that can make a gig so good. Tonight’s headliner, Joe Fox had a small buzz, but only if you follow A$AP Rocky particularly closely. Having featured alongside Kanye West on the A$AP Mob MC’s ‘Jukebox Joints.’ I remember seeing an interview around the time of the release that Fox was discovered by Rocky after a late-night studio session with Fox busking outside.
Whatever A$AP Rocky seen in this man that was supposedly so special, I didn’t.
Joe is talented. He can sing and play guitar much better than I could dream of, but his performance just fell a little…flat. His acoustic set made up of songs from his forthcoming album came after two energetic supports and so when the London native asked if the crowd had any requests, he was met with “yeah, get a drummer.” It was hard to disagree with the heckler. Although it was definitely a little uncalled for, the man wasn’t wrong. Whilst acoustic sets can definitely work, SoShe offered a sample of that during their set, Fox just doesn’t bring enough to pull it off. The songwriting, nor the vocal power were strong enough to warrant this stripped back style of performance.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Its no surprise SSD concerts continues to book SoShe and Kay Greyson for support slots. They consistently and reliably deliver every time I’ve seen either of them – although on this occasion both brought surprise new sets that showed a new side to them respectively.
Kay opened up the night, mixing up songs from her ‘Morning After Music’ mixtape from 2016, and the forthcoming project she’s been threatening to release for over six months. Last time this exact gig was meant to happen, but Fox pulled out and SoShe and Kay put on a night anyway – Kay premiered ‘LSD.’ It was a stand out song from that set, and sounded just as sick the second time over. The more recent music, some of which she was performing for the first time, showcased a new, more aggressive Kay who is pulling no punches.
For all of her success from the past twelve months, the Newcastle rapper is still being questioned endlessly from her peers. Its clear Kay can hear the whispers, and is ready to respond to her doubted with a barrage of banging music. The highlight of Kay’s set came with ‘It Is What It Is.’ After the set, Kay told me that its a throwaway track, but the first verse from ‘It Is What It Is’ is her best work to date so I can’t wait to hear the quality that makes the cut for the next mixtape.
Kay’s set ended with a track that was written to educate people how to spell her name which is beautiful considering on the poster for this event her surname is spelt wrong.
During their set SoShe let slip that they were working on something with Greyson – a collaboration I am definitely excited to hear, especially because it seems to have come across organically from them playing gigs so often together. Dayna, Alex and Jaimie typically kick off their set with the massive Something About The Way, but completely switched things up for their new set. Instead the trio introduced themselves with a stripped back acoustic track titled ‘Even In My Dreams.’ The song showed that if you takeaway all of the polished production, Dayna’s got some super strong pipes on her.
Dayna did however admit to struggling with the new set, although I’m not sure we’d have noticed if she hadn’t have mentioned it. By my reckoning it was worth sweating for however because she and her two bandmates absolutely smashed new songs ‘One More Chance’, ‘Catch You Out’ and ‘Yours Tonight.’ They also premiered a song so new that it didn’t even have a name yet, but it was an amazing song whether it had a name or not.
The one draw back from their performance is one I’m going to likely have every time I see them – and this certainly won’t be the last. Whenever they play ‘Showed Up’ part of me holds out in hope that Cadet is going to show up and perform his verse. If it doesn’t happen soon, I might have to do it for him. Even without the Grime MC’s guest feature however, SoShe make ‘Showed Up’ sound immense. For someone who is very much a fan of lyrics rather instrumentation, their breakdowns are built expertly and Alex and Jaimie are allowed the time to show their talent just as much as Dayna.
All in all, the gig was a good one. I was treat to new songs from two of my favourite local acts even if the emerging out-of-towner Joe Fox came off pale in comparison. SoShe and Kay Greyson may not be reaching that X Factor audience but their talent is undeniable. They did exactly what they’re supposed to do with live performances, make me want more. So when are those new projects dropping? And when can expect that collaboration?