On a night where the weather was almost foretold, A2 and friends turned KOKO blue for the night.
From even the hint of A2 about to come on the audience lulled into a low murmur in anticipation for what was to come. The BLUE experience is what we got. With a relatively simple stage set up: DJ and decks at the back, a sofa just to the right of the decks, and a lone mic stand in the middle of the stage A2 strutted his stuff.
From his entrance to Marble Flaws to his exit to an unreleased new track A2 was a true MC. You can take that however you want as he was most definitely a master of ceremonies as well as a microphone champion. His stage presence was that of a puppeteer, with his vocals and beats being the strings and the crowd his puppets. When A2 was in full flow – so was the crowd singing along word for word. But therein also exposed one of the most interesting aspects of the show. It was like A2 was an illusionist, if A2 faltered so did the crowd, but when in full swing the crowd was undeniably under his spell.
A2 clearly thought through his set extremely well duping the crowd into believing he was simply going to follow the order of BLUE. Instead what he did was started with BLUE then got into a classics section which featured the likes of FLOWERSXPATRON, Holograms, and Pluto Interlude before getting into some newer material as well as the controversial Harley Quinn which had to be removed from the album due to artist conflict. Then we got back to BLUE before closing out with a Thea Gajic assisted From London With Love. We then got one of many highlights of the night, when A2 premiered a brand new track with Octavian. Finally in what A2 described as the section for the mandem he played his more uptempo and bouncy tracks.
Speaking of other acts…
The nights music started off with Dotty. He started off with the track he’s probably most well known for Thoughts before getting into some newer material. Dotty arguably had the toughest job of the night with having to rock the mic for the first stream of people that had come in and the people that slowly but surely trickled in after. He also had the role of capturing the crowds attention and starting to build the vibe for the night. It started off extremely well with the crowd singing along to Thoughts, but the crowd seemed to be lost during his track with Charlie Rose – who came out to perform alongside Dotty. After this Dotty fought a battle to bring the crowd back, and some more uptempo tracks had the crowd vibing and shaking a leg even if they didn’t know the words.
Following on from Dotty was North London songstress Mira May. She started off with a cover mashup of popular tracks like FBG and Bodak Yellow to get the crowd on her side. But then she did what Dotty didn’t – got straight into the energy after that. Performing tracks off of her N15 project as well as a brand new song, the crowd seemed to really be feeling the notes she was hitting.
Next up was Octavian, who shut down the last GUAPPARTY showcase. Now Octavian really knew what he was doing, performing with high energy and the confidence of a seasoned veteran. Alongside his dj, Octavian demanded energy from the crowd and built up suspense by waiting til his last track of his set to perform Party Here. I’m sure Octavian gained more than a few fans off of his performance, his set was a real highlight of the night.
What’s interesting to note throughout is A2’s mastery of the crowd. He never forgot about them and was big on crowd engagement. He didn’t simply perform tracks he broke the performance up with occasional monologues, questions to the crowd, shout-outs, and demands on energy levels from the crowd. In turn what he did was included them in the experience beyond just listening to him perform track after track. Yet even with these frequent breaks A2’s star shone so brightly that as soon as it got back to the music the crowd became a choir once again. The structure of the show was very good as mentioned before and could neatly be broken into sections: BLUE, older sing alongs and iconic tracks, newer material, and mosh pit tracks. To which the crowd reacted accordingly, but no matter what always knew when the right time to turn up was and when to chill and sing along.
All in all, A2 at KOKO was an absolute shutdown. Great performances by all the artists, new exclusives, fan favourites, crowd engagement, and good vibes. It truly showed that A2 knows his fans and how to tailor a show to them expertly. All this and it was only his third time ever headlining a show!
Photos by: @LifeOfWays
Words by: @Z_Chibs
Stream BLUE above.