Shades of the underground featuring Master Peace, Louie LeVack and more.


I've yet to ask Will Winter why he named his event Shades perhaps it was the palate of underground rappers he is continuously able to undercover from all corners of the music industry. Or perhaps it is just another scribble to add to his already healthy portfolio of artists album covers like Louie LeVack’s recent Deja Vu release, portraits of Uk musicians like, Giggs & A2 and collages portraying concepts such as culture and intoxication. Though, what was clear was that his artistic aesthetic in his work is also very prevalent in his musical curation.


Each artist with their own unique lyrical tongue decorated the venue with a vast range of modern interpretations of rap. The short interludes of sounds provided by Trudy (Official DJ for Master Peace) allowed the audience to reflect on the previous performance and prepare for the next artist's alternative use of intonations, volume and flow to create their own unique sound. The bar for talent was very high, however, a couple of artists stood out either due to their unique take on rap or their comfort and energy they had on stage.


One of these artists was master peace; I had listened to a number of his songs after seeing his name plastered over a number of underground event flyers. Although the tracks were good, the limits of basic headphones or even expensive studio monitors do not give him full justice. Like a punk rock vocalist, he violently screams his lyrics into the crowd and dips tips towards the stargazed audience clutching tight on his microphone like it’s the only thing keeping him from falling. The entirety of the crowd ferociously screaming his lyrics back at him with their hands suspended up in the air, making a vicious attempt to reciprocate his energy. He strategically feeds the audience the lyrics of the chorus before the performance of each track and repeats it far more times than in the released version. Then he conducts a battle with the audience until he leaps in the middle of the crowd; a reward for their ample energy reciprocation.  


Similarly, Louie LeVack also joined the audience during the performance of his track Creeping. The audience appeared to know the lyrics without any prompting and his energy alone was enough to make anyone hum along and join in the mosh pit in an attempt to disguise their ignorance. Louie had just returned from tour with his Essie Gang collaborator Octavian and has also recently had his album launch party in Brighton. His stage confidence was clear and fortunately had enough vocal clarity for the audience to hear every one of his puns and intricately detailed lyrics. As I have followed Louie for some time now I was already attuned to his sound and aware of the majority of the tracks of his latest album. However, now his live performance certainly added a completely new dimension that added to the understanding of his new album.


There has been a recent upsurge of brands holding musical events as an attempt to reach out to the millennial market. Whilst many of these events feel like transparent attempts to acquire a healthy email list and some brand image Shades was certainly not one of these. There was an extensive range of artists performing, giving them an opportunity to expand their audience. Additionally, the free entry meant the minimal travel costs and time was incredibly well spent


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