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Sway Live - Islington Academy...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, March 20, 2006
Fresh off the back of his eagerly awaited debut album Sway headlined his biggest show to date at the Carling Islington Academy. As part of his This Is My Tour schedule this show had a massive buzz around it being staged in North London. The crowd had a nice range of people from the hardcore fans who can count the mixtapes ‘This Is My Promo Vol.1 & 2’ in their collection to the newer fans who may have come across him after his recent MOBO success.

The support was extra special for the night with Jump Off champion Professor Green, conscious crunk man David Banner and Sway’s sidekick Pyrelli all hyping the crowd to full affect. Unfortunately due to the traditional traffic getting through London and walking past the hidden away venue meant missing out on Professor Green’s set. Now this was my first time at the Islington Academy and I was very impressed but you wouldn’t have known it existed with no signs up and being tucked in a mini shopping centre. Thankfully the first person to give us directions and walk us to the venue was none other than DJ Turkish, Sway’s man behind the Technics.

As good as it is to hear the classic Hip-Hop tracks that seem to always be played at any Hip-Hop gig it was refreshing to walk in and be greeted with Tinchy Stryder’s ‘Underground’ which was followed by a selection of grime anthems. Pyrelli came out to a warm reception and ran through a quick set of tracks from his forthcoming mixtape and David Banner spent more time in the crowd than on stage even performing on the bar at one point.

But the night was all about Sway. Nearly three years of hard work and a clever self marketing campaign has got his name on the lips of Hip-Hop heads to the NME crowd, the red-tops to the broadsheet press.

Opening up with the title track ‘This Is My Demo Sway’ came out to rapturous cheers before getting into his next single, the celebration of city life on ‘Products’ - very poignant for this some what homecoming gig. The single that has brought many to the attention of Sway was ‘Flo Fashion’ and it still sounds as funny as ever and had the crowd going word for word.

In between tracks we were treated to various little segments from various acapellas including the infamous and limelight stealing ‘Harvey Knicks’ verse and another quotable onslaught from Taz’s ‘Cowboys and Indians’ remix ‘then I took her to Selfridges/then I found out they don’t sell fridges/brought her a top looked as tight as one of Trevor Nelson’s’. But the best was Sway’s beat box attempt. Known for his comedy element the beat box attempt was more liken to trying to impress your mate by blowing the loudest raspberry, but it didn’t stop there. Sway was ready to take it one step further by rapping and beat boxing at the same time. He had the crowd in stitches when he then gave a delay after his attempted beat making before quickly asking people to buy his album. Making fun at himself he then asked the crowd if he thought he should stick to the rapping.

While the majority of his acclaim comes from his knack of a punch line and not taking himself to seriously the night took a more serious approach as a track which you wouldn’t have expected him to do in ‘Pretty Ugly Husband’ showed his diversity. The shouts for peace in club land ‘Slo Down’ had everyone in attendance singing the chorus with which Sway could only stand back and watch a satisfied man.

The first of the guests was no surprise as the talented Baby Blue came out to assist on ‘Little Derek’ and later under rated soul singer Nate James added to the inspirational ‘Still On My Own’.

The track ‘Download’ followed an encounter with a fan that Sway joked with for not buying but downloading his album. He thanked him for at least paying to come and see him perform but it turned out he hadn’t even done that! Sticking with the World Wide Web he debuted a new track called ‘MySpace’ about his rise to fame.

Sway finished the night by bringing out the Robin to his Batman in Pyrelli for the anthem ‘Up Your Speed’ which had the venues speakers worrying, and just before that it was the man Bigz who came out for the triple threat attack of ‘Loose Woose’ which capped a memorable show.

It was clear from the mixtapes that we have a huge talent on our hands and being the first from the scene to really embrace the do it yourself approach to getting your name out there beyond the underground we could see our first bona fide superstar that can attract the mainstream crowd and appease the heads. You can see the hard work the man has put in and it comes across in his performance from the way he commands the stage and interacts with the crowd to his chemistry with his DJ. A very polished performance from a man who if the structure were in place in the scene would be as massive as the current media favourites the Arctic Monkeys are, he certainly is as talented.


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