Back in 2015/16, local hip-hop/grime nights were regular across Newcastle and Sunderland. Static kept Geordies happy in World Headquarters while Wearsiders Presents promoted gigs in Sunderland. There have been a couple Static and Wearsiders Presents gigs since but I’ve been unable to attend.
Missing out on the short-lived return of Static in late-2018 might be my biggest FOMO regret of last year, while I also missed out on Wearsiders Presents first On My Wave gig. Thankfully I made it to On My Wave 2 co-headlined by Reali-T and Tuckage.
Donning my NNE hoody, getting to Independent before most of the acts soundchecked and bumping into a number of heads I hadn’t seen since the last Sunderland gig I attended. There was a wave of nostalgia because something’s never change but a tsunami of pride because of the progression the Mackem SceNE has made in the last few years.
I’ve probably sugar-coated a bit, because I always wanted these nights to succeed but typically there’s always at least one act who underwhelms. That wasn’t the case last Friday night as every single act did their thing. From relative newcomer Legion making a fantastic first impression to Philth Like stealing the show with his first hometown performance. That EP Philth’s been teasing can’t come quick enough. The crowd was electric for the now Manchester based Mackem, and I can’t be the only who wants him to release something ASAP.
You must have not ever attended a North East festival in 2018 if you don’t know the quality of performance from Sunderland trio E-Mence, Claymore & Listaa. Although the latter MC performed solo he still smashed as did ‘ClayMence’ going back-to-back as a duo. As much as I definitely want to see them release more music together this year, I fully believe that nobody is ready for the bloodshed.
It was particularly pleasing to see Listaa back in action. After a short hiatus at the end of last year, he’s also teased that this may be his final gig. After running through tracks from his terrific Calm EP, even I was reminded how good the SR5 rapper can be when he’s on form. Hopefully the adrenaline rush of being back on stage is the inspiration he needs to bring us something fresh in 2019.
A short-but-sweet set from Tuckage felt special. The former New North East man, now reps La Familia alongside his cousins including Halo who was the host for the night. Tuckage was gassing the crowd up so much, Halo jumped back on stage to provide hype man services ad-libbing punchlines. The performance of Dopamine cut JaCk SpaRrOw provided a particular highlight.
Reali-T ended the night. Although there was a brief moment of issue with members of the crowd, the Hackney born, Sunderland educated, North Tyneside based rapper remained professional and ploughed through crowd favourites including Smile For The Camera and Bounce If You Want To. It is a shame the set was relatively short especially considering calls for an encore. The Independent audience specifically wanted to hear new smash single Be Patient.
Literally every artist on the bill was brilliant. I’ve got my fingers crossed for On My Wave 3 to come round ASAP. I wouldn’t mind if it was just the same acts doing the same sets again to be honest. Regardless of who’s booked, I’ll be there, front row with a blue pint in hand.