NCS Yes Live at Brixton Academy
The O2 Academy in Brixton is filled with animated teenagers waiting for NCS Yes Live to begin. The gig is staged to celebrate young people from all walks of life, recognising those who are inspirational to teenagers across the UK. T4 hosts Miquita Oliver and Will Best take to the stage to introduce the first act, and despite their awkward chemistry (neither seemed like they wanted to be there), the crowd are absolutely electric.
Opening act Neon Jungle take to the stage, performing their debut single Trouble, followed by the current and catchy Braveheart. The girls have so much energy between them, and are obviously here to have fun and entertain. The first award is beamed onto a huge screen as Neon Jungle depart, and the crowd watch Inspiration in Music winner Nina Nesbitt thank everyone for their votes. Chasing Grace are up next, and get the crowd moving with their fast-paced instrument playing and sweet folk voices. The band recently supported Naughty Boy on his tour, and their confidence in performing to a huge crowd certainly shows.
Five-piece electro group Swiss Lips follow the Inspiration in Fashion video link, won by Tinie Tempah. Their set is calmer than the previous acts, the crowd are still enjoying themselves but in a far more relaxed atmosphere.
After Jamal Edwards is voted Innovator in Business and Zoella is awarded NCS YouTuber, Elli Ingram showcases her unique voice to the audience. Lily Cole is then announced as Innovator in Digital, at which point Brit school alumni Kimberly-Anne stages an acoustic performance of two tracks. As a relatively unknown artist, Kimberly-Anne showcases her striking voice alongside her equally as impressive guitar playing.
Immediately after Inspiration in Sport winner Tom Daley’s screen appearance, Joel Compass performs, followed by four-piece band Colour The Atlas and singer-songwriter Olivia Sebastianelli. All three artists soothe the room with their equally soft voices. Jess Hall, the lead of Colour, Joel and Olivia all have a beautiful tone, and it’s a refreshing change to the day so far.
Will Poultner is the winner of the final award of the day, for Inspiration in Film. His acceptance speech is followed by YouTube breakout star Nina Nesbitt treating the audience to tracks from her current album Peroxide. Armed with two guitars, the upcoming Scottish solo singer is very much reminiscent of an early Taylor Swift, and it’s evident she will go far.
Closing the show, an NCS group performance of The Beatles’ Come Together is staged by a few of the acts from the day and it is somewhat refreshing to hear a familiar song – their version is available to download, free here.
Although the gig was a fantastic way of promoting NCS, informing young people what the National Citizen Service does and how young people can get involved, it was probably a good thing the concert had the 16-17 age cap on it, as the acts were mainly YouTube stars and upcoming artists, anyone older probably wouldn’t have heard of them. The crowd did make the entire day a pleasurable and exciting experience, ensuring all the hard work that goes into making NCS a possibility totally worth it. The teenagers of Britain will be eager for the next event staged by such a brilliant company.
Shannon Enola-Rae Rawlins
Photos: Helen Jensen
For further information about NCS visit here.