UKGarage Chronicle at Wembley Arena
Saturday night at Wembley saw two huge events: Froche vs Groves and the UKG Chronicle.
The UKGarage Chronicle is a collection of old school garage artists who for a night have come back on to the stage to revive their 90s hits. For those of you who want to relive the garage era, this was the event for you to be at.
Compared by ‘legendary’ MC Kie, who dabbled between presenter and illusionist with an outfit change between every performance, it was truly an evening of old school. With a line-up that included Shola Ama, DJ Luck and MC Neat and Artful Dodger the night was sure to revive fond memories of when garage music was all over the top 40. We were expecting a throwback from the 90s, but what we got was more of a crash and burn.
The sound wasn’t favourable on anyone all evening but some acts fared better than others. MC Kie fell victim to the poor set up, with his introductions barely audible and his jokes lost in the general chatter of the crowd.
Opening act was Leanne Brown, one half of Sweet Female Attitude, who sang an unknown song and then her 2000 catchy hit Flowers. While the intention to entertain was there, some technical hitches meant the backing track failed halfway through. Like a true professional, Brown continued through her set despite the terrible sound system. That was, until she brought out some teenagers as backing dancers, and the whole night suddenly felt more like a school talent show than a concert worthy of Wembley arena.
The next few acts followed the same formula; one unknown song and then one somewhat famous hit. Ritchie Dan began to get the crowd interested with his tune Call it Fate and was clearly desperate to stay on longer, enjoying being back in the limelight. Kele le Roc’s performance got the audience a little more attentive. Although it’s uncertain which attracted more attention; her voice or choice of outfit. Sporting a catsuit that didn’t leave much to the imagination, she belted out My Love to the crowds amusement. Not even Shola Ama could really enthral the half empty stadium.
Mercury Prize winner Ms Dynamite was billed as the final and headline act but her performance was nothing compared to Artful Dodger who absolutely stole the night. Once Mark Hill and Pete Devereux began, there was simply no stopping them. It’s hard to forget how many huge hits they had: Re-Rewind, Moving Too Fast, Please Don’t Turn Me On.
Addressing the fans ‘When I say enter you say selector,’ the crowd went wild. They kept themselves relevant by including mixes of Sigma’s Nobody to Love. The audience couldn’t get enough of them whilst they performed a smashing 20 minute set. And with a mix of R Kelly’s Bump and Grind to finish, they proved they can hold their own despite at times merely grunting over songs.
Although all the acts that performed are no doubt talented, their day has been and gone. It’s evident that one big hit isn’t enough to keep an audience entertained. Only Artful Dodger showed true professionalism and the potential to make it in today’s industry, but perhaps that’s because they were the only act with more than one hit.
The 90s fashion is back but perhaps the music should stay there; there’s a reason the garage era didn’t last long.
Photo: UKG / Butterfly Photo
For further information and future events visit Artful Dodger’s website here.
Watch the video for Please Don’t Turn Me On here: