The Jam Jar is tucked just behind Old Market’s main strip where gin palaces, cocktail bars and chichi boutiques crop up like spring shoots. It’s not fancy, it feels genuinely underground: an evolving work of love, it is described as an ‘arts collective.’ I am welcomed by a friendly chap holding a marker who offers me an ‘E’ on my hand – “as proof of entry” he quickly adds, with a wink.
My Style begin the evening. Formed in 2016 by Mac McCormick from Bristol and Talia Smulian from Tel Aviv, their style has a distinctly 90s feel, both aesthetically – trainers and Adidas jumpers – as well as their sound – a moody, trip hop, dub fusion. She sings with a smoky voice whilst mashing up the beats and he raps out their conscious lyrics. We sway and nod our heads in time, as the Jam Jar cats play at our feet.
Next up, are rappers Verbal Highz, an entertaining troupe of four in a uniform of baggy jeans and hoodies. They come straight for us, spitting their expletive-laden rhymes and taking turns to strut the stage wielding cans of Red Stripe.
The High Breed immediately beckon us right upfront. The baggy jeans and buoyant attitudes continue, but this is a slick, slower, wiggle-inducing sort of hip-hop, with Jurassic 5-esque positive lyrics. They identify as ‘new school, hip hop artists interested in the collective awakening,’ and they certainly keep us in the groove.
Formed of vocalist and composer, Raquel Peralta from NYC and UK producer, Josh Childs, hosts and organisers Stereo Kela wrap up the live music. She stands barefoot, centre stage, a mini-goddess with a huge voice in asymmetrical body paint. Their sound is hard to pin down. Skimming disco, trance, and house, it’s undeniably electronic, but I also hear swing, reggae, her operatic training, and there are eerie moments where he blows his trumpet over the beats and she boogies appreciatively. Their set is a spectacle: food for the eyes and soul, as much as the ears. At the end, she raises her hands: ‘We love you so much,’ she announces, and the reverb is still on, and it echoes, and keeps echoing…
Find out more about Stereo Kala and their upcoming events over on their website at www.stereokela.com
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