The Very Best at the Oslo in Hackney
The Very Best returns to London after seven years on 5th August – a momentous occasion marked by a slew of guest performers, blow-up palm trees and a reciprocal exchange of explosive energy both from the musicians and the crowd. Anyone who has ever been to the Oslo knows that the combination of a popular act and poor ventilation makes for a sweaty dance party – and this show is no exception.
A truly international collaboration, The Very Best is comprised of Esau Mwamwaya, a Malawi-born singer, and Johan Hugo of Radioclit, a London-based production team duo. Their sound has often been described as world music or global pop, and any listener would be able to discern the African beats and vocals (lyrics in Chichewa, the national language of Malawi, permeate many of their songs) set to Western pop rock and dance rhythms. Their latest album, Makes a King, dropped earlier this year in April.
The Afro-Euro duo, outfitted with a complete ensemble, draws a considerably devoted crowd, proof of which is demonstrated by an affectionate club-wide sing-along to the act’s remix of Dan Croll’s Compliment Your Soul two songs in. Guest performers YADi and Baaba Maal, Senegal’s most legendary musician, join the group onstage to further texturise the already eclectic musical amalgamation. Come Alive is very fittingly brought to jumping and arm-raising life, one of many instances where the show is much more dance-inclined than their recorded albums. A moment of catharsis from the dance fury is offered with Hear Me, a haunting piece that echoes the stagnation of progress in modern-day Malawi. The deep, resounding bass propels one’s heart outside his ribcage and compels everyone to committed head bobbing, while the meandering rhythms keep feet shuffling.
Introducing the last song with “If you haven’t already, it’s time to Let Go”, The Very Best caps the night with the jubilant single from their new album. After a dedicated night of dancing and loaded grooves, the audience departs – euphoric from an elevated heart rate and the affirmation that globalisation has contributed at least one boon to society.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about The Very Best and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Let Go here: