By Koray Hussein
When I rocked up at Queen of Hoxton on Monday evening for MOBO’s MOBO UnSung event, I had absolutely no plans to write a piece on it. I was simply out with a few friends looking to enjoy some music and slam some food into my face… but after spending a few hours in Queen of Hoxton’s basement and listening to some stellar performers, I kind of felt I had to at least do a short post on it.
A common gripe with most music fans who can’t stand listening to “artists” like One Direction, Justin Bieber or whatever the hell Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj are, is that music is simply dead in 2014. Long gone are the days when unquestionably talented artists like [Insert your favourite artist here as long as it’s not Boyzone] occupied the top 10 charts which are now replaced by TV shows like Popfactor or I Can Singz or whatever these shows have morphed into… But one thing is clear. Music is not dead. Not even slightly. You just need to look somewhere else.
A couple of decades ago the radio and Top of the Pops used to be the best way to find talented musicians, now though you have to look towards the internet with YouTube and Spotify being two of the easiest ways to unearth the next [Insert another one of your favourite bands as long as it’s not Coldplay].
Another way to find great up and coming musicians is to actually go to multi-artist music events, like the aforementioned, MOBO UnSung event at Queen of Hoxton. Sure, there were a few artists that didn’t appeal to me but then there were artists like Basheba.
The North London singer, backed by her extremely talented band, performed three songs for the crowd, all of which were well received. I’m no music critic so I’m not going to launch into paragraphs discussing each and every part of the performance. All I know is that they played music, and I (along with the entire audience I might add) liked it… A lot. My personal favourite was “Hold On” which I’ve managed to find a video of online.
But Basheba was only the first of the three MOBO UnSung finalists to appear on Monday night, and was swiftly followed by another London based musician, YJ.
Now, remember when I said there were a few artists that didn’t appeal to me? Yeah… YJ was one of them. I’m not saying the guy was rubbish, because he clearly wasn’t. He was clearly popular with a large section of the crowd… I just wasn’t part of that section. But like I said before, his music didn’t appeal to me and frankly, all of my opinions based on his performance are pointless as even if he was a world class rapper, I’d still be looking down at my phone scrolling through Instagram whilst waiting for the next performer…
… TianaMajor9, who (along with the previously mentioned Basheba) stole the show. That’s just my opinion, but there must have been a reason the show organisers saw fit to put her on as the closing act. It was a superb set which was highlighted by their second song “They Love When”. Unfortunately I can’t find any performances of that song on-line although I did manage to film their third song on my phone but, like all mobile phone videos, it’s not the best.
MOBO has clearly chosen some quality artists in their 10 MOBO UnSung finalists and you’d do well to check out their site to see the other performers. Queen of Hoxton was also the perfect venue for such an event. The location is easy to get to by tube or by bus, there’s some parking in the area and there’s also Woodlandia… But that’s another post for another time.