Grime coming to the South West was always going to be a bit of a hit or miss, and with the sheer number of people advertising their tickets on the Facebook event page I had a feeling the crowd would be a bit sparse. With that being said, the great reception Grime artist Stormzy got during fresher’s week gave me hope of a decent night. I arrived to find the turnout was average but it was clear the majority of people were there for Big Narstie who would grace the stage at 1am.
Danja, who some of us will remember from Hijacked festival, was the undisputed underdog of the night. He had a just-off-the-street vibe to him and MC’d in a Reebok rucksack for most of his set. The energy he brought to the stage was incredible and barely overshadowed by a disappointing ad-lib guy who was consistently off beat. Danja exuded so much confidence and MC’d in a serious don’t f*** with me manner as he performed renditions of some of his biggest tunes, See Me Fall and Remember. His on stage persona was an almost polar opposite of the Danja I spoke to later backstage, where I found him to be super relaxed and cheerful.
Splurgeboys brought similar levels of energy and really had fun as a group. It has to be said I found their performance mainly memorable because of their image and stage presence and not so much the quality of their music (however I didn’t catch all of their performance as some of it was spent interviewing Big Narstie backstage).
Naturally the crowd went crazy as the headliner swaggered towards them and spudded fans in the front row. He performed the much loved Gas Pipe, Hello Hi and overall delivered a great set. He’s a massive crowd pleaser and encourages audience participation every time I’ve seen him perform. At Fresh Island, Croatia he originally got members of the audience on stage for Grime Karaoke, this time he chose to split the crowd into two for a sing off. His fun loving personality shone through as he said: “I heard Exeter has it more than Bristol”. The crowd roared. Yes Big Narstie, flattery will get you far.
On the whole, the event was a success. It’s exciting that Grime, a recently formed music genre that started on the streets of London, was so well received in the South West. If taste is the “it” Big Narstie was referring to, then Exeter definitely has it.