So last night I had the pleasure of attending the 20109 Change event put on by the Ibbamo Trust at London's IndigO2.
As is evident from my ticket, I was very much VIP (thanks for the most part to a very helpful lady at the PR company working the event, who really hooked me up, and The Roundhouse's RedTop Magazine, for which I was covering the event). That meant Kings Row seats (literally the best in the house!), access to a private bar (which I only used once, not because it was £4 for a bottle of beer, but because I was THERE TO WORK... obviously...) and general VIP treatment. It was alot.
The evening kicked off with the BBC's coverage of the inauguration being aired on the big screen - as would be expected, Obama's oath and then his speech received numerous massive cheers from those already inside the building. After the speech, the show began for real, with the London Community Gospel Choir performing. The entertainment on the night consisted of a wide variety of acts, with skills ranging from beatboxing to dancing to singing, and the transition between artists was seamless, thanks mainly to the show's hosts, comedian Eddie Kadi and singer Patrick Alen.
The first noteworthy performance of the night came from award-winning saxophonist YolanDa Brown, who was able to stir the inexplicably reserved crowd with a short but impressive set, concluding with her take on Robin Thicke's "Lost Without You".
Next, the London Community Choir returned, alongside Patrick Alen and the Music Box Live band, and the stars of the West End's Motown Live Revue, who included Stephanie Benson and Kele Le Roc. They ran through a number of Motown hits, before Britain's Got Talent semi-finalist Dominic Smith came to the stage.
Eliciting undoubtedly the biggest reaction of the night (louder than even headline act Lemar), the 16 year old was such a success that he was brought back for an encore, with the running order of the show altered on the spot to allow the teenager a second performance.
More acts followed, including Q&A and Ava Leigh but next of note were N-Dubz, performing to a crowd much older than their usual demographic. The trio's effort was admirable, and their set featured the same energy (if not crowd interaction) that their live show is famed for.
Natty was up next, and delivered a short but effective set, which included debut single "Cold Town", and a new song he wrote on the day of Obama's election: a tribute to the President's achievement and how it inspired him.
DJ Ironik followed Natty. Unfortunately he wasn't there to DJ. I'll say no more.
Finally, the headline act, Lemar, came to the stage. He performed "If She Knew", "If There's Any Justice", new single "Weight Of The World", and for an encore, "It's Not That Easy". Vocally impressive as always, he had the crowd singing along, and shared his own feelings about Obama's election. Anyway, here's a short video of him performing "If There's Any Justice".
The show closed with some scantily-clad Brazilian samba dancers, who I unfortunately didn't take any photos of. All in all, in my eyes at least, it was a success. The turnout wasn't amazing, and it seemed as though it was mostly press and media, but the vibes were right, and more importantly, the aim of the event was fulfilled. Ibbamo director Keynes Emeruwa spoke of wanting to bring together like-minded individuals to celebrate a moment in history, a culmination of centuries of spirited campaigning for justice and equality. Judging by the crowd that came out for this event, selective in their applause but vocal in support for the man of the moment, the trust was overwhelmingly successful in putting on an event that sought to unite its guests under the banner of not only embracing change, but actively persuing it.
A final note just to highlight the performers I thought stood out on the night, or who I personally liked. Eddie Kadi was hilarious - the charismatic young comedian owned the stage. A particular highlight was an improvised performance with Beatbox band Duke about Tesco not selling Supermalt. Speaking of Duke, those guys were AMAZING. I fully regret not recording when they started Wiley's "Wearing My Rolex" then switched into Ghetto's "Mountain". Actually incredible. YolanDa Brown was so impressive I'm about to cop tickets to her Jazz Cafe show in February, on the strength of a 10-minute performance. Dominic Smith is a talented young man with a bright future ahead of him. It's no secret I'm a fan of N-Dubz, Lemar and Natty, they all represented as I expected they would. Oh and Twin B held it down pon deck.