LIVE REVIEW: BCUC, Kay Greyson @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle (23.10.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

A late autumn Sunday night doesn’t seem a likely time for a crowd to go completely nuts, but such is the power of BCUC’s music. First up was Tyneside rapper and human dynamo Kay Greyson, who took her role of warming the crowd up pretty literally: her charm and good humour and cheeky grin were as warm as it gets. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Greyson live and she’s grown in confidence and style, strong melodies and an intimate, almost conversational delivery to the fore. There’s a poppy crossover potential to her stuff these days – without any sense of compromise – and a sound that’s equal parts Native Tongues and golden era West Coast, but still fully Geordie. Over & Over was a strong closer that really connected with the crowd and made me wish her set could have run a little longer.

But then Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness came onstage and rewired something fundamental in my brain and body. I’d been obsessing over their trio of albums for a few years and was expecting something special, but this was an absolute revelation: a collision of rhythms, voices, energy and attitude that had the big crowd up and jumping from the first beat to the last. What they do is simple in theory – three drums and a bass guitar keeping a pounding groove going, three vocalists chanting and intoning and singing over the top, splashes of whistle and percussion. But their understanding of dynamics, of the power of hypnotic repetition, of when to take things down and went to take the roof off, is tremendous. There were heartfelt words for the audience when the sound softened briefly, but mostly it was a relentless, joyous, infectious uproar. I mean, I don’t dance – I’m old, I’m anxious and I’ve got a shit leg – but there was definitely something close to it happening with me. A shuffle of sorts. You’d have to be dead to resist their power and their uplift. Life-affirming stuff.

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout