REVIEW: Akala, Kingslee Daley at the Haunt, 07/05/15

Presented by One Inch Badge and hosted at the Haunt, Akala performed an energetic gig on Thursday 7th May 2015.

Born and raised in London’s Kentish Town, Kingslee Daley, otherwise known by his stage name Akala, is a Hip-Hop artist influenced by musicians such as Wu Tang Klan and Public Enemy. Well known for his educating and socially conscious lyrics, Akala performed in Brighton as part of his Knowledge is Power Vol.2 (KIP2) album Tour.

Opening the show was rapper Mic Righteous. Enticing the audience with his fast paced rapping, crowd members were left amazed by his evident talent and persuasive energy, which prepared them for the event’s headline act.

Following his support act, Akala entered the stage performing Bang With Us from KIP2, to begin his set. With video footage and lyrics projected on the stage screen, assisting Akala’s powerful presence and a live drummer, the crowd fed off this lively ambience. Interacting with his showgoers, Akala informed us that Brighton is the last city on his tour date and that he intends to end it with a BANG. And he certainly did not fail to deliver!

As the set progressed, energy levels rose as Daley rapped along to booming beats, performing a mix of both new and older material. Mr Fire in the Booth, from his latest album, fuelled the audience further as they sang along to the compelling chorus and danced to the dynamic sound, whilst he rapped competently. Prior to performing several songs, he interacted and related with the audience by explaining what the song was about. He did this with Sometimes, as it connects with many people through its reference to the days when you may feel apathetic, but courageously decide to ‘suck it all up’ as the lyrics denote. Performing Hold your head up high, from his 2006 album It’s Not a Rumour, provided insight into how his life was growing up, whilst accompanied by vocals from Selah on the track.

Halfway through his set, the 31 year old informs the crowd he brought a ‘friend’ with him to the gig and momentarily leaves the stage to get him. Shortly after, Akala returns wearing a blazer and reading glasses, posing as ‘Pompous Peterson’- a character he created who is an old rich conservative man that isn’t keen on the idea of a diversified Britain, amongst other liberal ideologies. Freestyling, Pompous demonstrates his objections to many liberal views with an RP dialect. In the same piece, Akala switches back to his original self and raps about his personal views, clearly contrasting with Peterson’s. This creative section of the gig intrigued audience members, leaving them eager to see more of Akala’s performance.

Following this, the Londoner created a calmer vibe, by performing Time to Relax, forming a jazz-like scene through the saxophone featured on the track along with its inspiringly comforting lyrics. He also read out a poem from his graphic novel The Ruins of The Empires, proving to be a man of many talents.

After the event, there were selling copies of KIP2 and The Ruins of The Empires, as well as an opportunity to take a picture with Akala. I would definitely recommend seeing him live, as his enthusiastic stage presence will have you enticed throughout his performance.

Knowledge is Power Vol. 2 is available for download on iTunes.

Review By Maxine Harrison

The Verse Staff

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