Grieves at Oslo Hackney
Grieves has amassed a cult following over the years since releasing his debut album Irreversible in 2007. Seven years later, although he has struggled to crack the bustling mainstream, he has found fandom and approving recognition in his latest album offering, Winter & the Wolves.
The striking factor when listening to a Grieves track is the passion in the deliverance of the lyrical content; even to the naked ear there’s an honesty and intensity that draws you in as a listener. This factor seems unique in a genre that is cluttered with boasting materialistic artists who heavily rely upon high production values and endless features. We went down to Oslo in Hackney to discover if Grieves can recapture this intensity in a live performance and offer some rap salvation.
The first noticeable issue when walking into the intimate venue is the reliance upon the bass, as it is almost throbbing out of the walls. An initial worry is that it will interfere with the other instrumental elements, however it does balance out as the set progresses. The passion encapsulated in the album tracks is fully displayed onstage as Grieves is a constant presence at the front, bellowing down the microphone right in the faces of the audience.
There is a definite buzz in the Hackney crowd as arms are thrown up throughout, and although a circle pit doesn’t quite break out, bodies are willingly thrown around the room. Crowd interaction is clearly an integral part of a Grieves gig as he constantly demands for shout backs and hands up, a feat that requires a certain confident character to pull off; luckily Grieves has oodles of it. The balance of the set also seems to be perfectly met as old tracks are mixed in among newer ones, much to the audiences’ delight.
Although Grieves may struggle to find a home in mainstream rap music this may not necessarily be a negative thing: his music seems to go beyond any labelled genre. It was definitely a relief to see that a Grieves live show does stand up when compared to album tracks, and with a bit of luck he will find himself having his own influence across genres.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information and future events visit Grieves’s website here.
Watch the video for Shreds here: