Live Review: Cult Of The Damned @ The Jazz Cafe, Camden
Given that even by London standards February 28th was a pretty dreary evening, people might be forgiven for believing that last Thursday night at The Jazz Cafe, Camden would be anything but an experience to tell their great-grandchildren about. Unfortunately for those people, it was exactly that. The headliners were Cult of the Damned, performing their first live gig since the nationwide Civilised Tour of 2018, which culminated on Boomtown Festivals infamous Polo Loco stage - drawing a crowd in the thousands. A full-bodied Blah showcase, support for the main acts were just as crucial to catch. First up was local rapper Stinkin Slumrok alongside his DJ, Morriarchi before Mancunian emcee Black Josh, who recently shelled down a packed-out solo set in Bristol’s Blue Mountain Club. The third act was a rare Mcabre Brothers set, performing anthems from their latest release, Tell A Friend EP to warm-up for the Cult Of The Damned finale. Here is how it all went down.
Stinkin Slumrok kick-started the night with a handful of anthems lifted from his young discography, backed by Morriarchi on the ones and twos. The crowd had a fervent feeling, almost like they were sticks of dynamite waiting for their fuse to be lit. Luckily Slumrok had the flames which quickly got the party popping. Beginning the set with an unreleased single called ‘Francs’, the fans quickly turned hyper as if to match Slumroks tipsy enthusiasm. Following a couple more singles such as Pipedreems, Madness and Word 2 Wazu, Slumrok certainly delivered on the mic and aptly riled up the crowd. He was followed by the ‘Yung Sweg Lawd’ Black Josh, alongside Sumgii on the decks. Over 400 Blah fans sold-out the venue, including Josh’s parents who were also in attendance. Opening his performance with female emcee Nah Eeto for the single Judge Judy, the excitement only intensified as the set progressed. Josh’s energy was infectious, caught by the crowd when Josh immediately jumped in amongst them. Dropping plenty of bass heavy tracks from his acclaimed solo debut Yung Sweg Lawd, the soon packed-out crowd caused an extreme temperature increase so Josh played half the set half-naked, sweating profusely as he spat each bar with vehement precision and clarity. A sensational performance to prepare for the highly anticipated Mcabre Brothers set.
Mcabre Brothers - Lee Scott and Milkavelli - drew an ecstatic applause before they launched into their set, spitting their satirical rhymes with cool, clear composure. Both veteran emcees, they called for constant crowd participation which elated the energy levels even higher. The shared passion between the rappers was enlivening, witnessing the emcees perform their recently released Tell A Friend EP in the flesh gave the music new-found meanings. A highlight of the set was seeing the crowd go crazy when the familiar instrumental for What If Lee Was A Lil Rapper dropped - the simplistic, trappy beat got everybody bopping. Afterwards, Lee admitted to the audience that “Sniff created this instrumental in five minutes,” and that Lee wrote the rhymes for it almost as quick. Overall the Mcabre Brothers performance exceeded expectations - for anyone who missed out, Lee told fans to watch out for the “new Mcabre Brothers video dropping and a UK tour coming very soon.”
The evening climaxed with a groundbreaking, hour long Cult Of The Damned set. With 12 rappers onstage - Lee Scott, Milkavelli, Stinkin Slumrok, Black Josh, Bisk, Bill Shakes, Tony Broke, Sly Moon, King Grubb, Barebase, Nah Eeto and Salar - all at once, the atmosphere was electric. Performing the Part Deux: Brick Pelican Posse Crew Gang Syndicate album from start to finish, Barebase launched into the opening hook from the single Part Deux; “Do, you, know, which, direction…?” which made everybody move. Track after track, the onstage antics escalated further. Drinks were thrown, umbrellas were opened, crowds got surfed; it was wavy. In amongst it all, the Cult dropped a few pre-2010 anthems such as Sly Moon Funk for the older heads to get down with. An hour flew past as though it’d been 10 minutes, then a rupturing noise from the crowd erupted as the instrumental for the Cult’s self-titled single, Cult Of The Damned began booming from the speakers. Those who had seen the Cult live beforehand knew what time it was, anyone who hadn’t was about to find out. The excitement couldn’t be contained, as parts of the crowd quickly turned into mosh-pits. Almost everybody rapped along, it was a phenomenal finale. The audience encored for “One more song!” however as the lights were turned on and the sound system got shut down, the time was unfortunately nigh and the venue was evacuated.