1Xtra's Grime Symphony at BBC Proms reviewed

By Darcy Thomas
Newsbeat reporter

Published
image captionThe full line-up take a bow

It's usually the home of classical music, but the Royal Albert Hall was taken over by grime on Wednesday night.

BBC Radio 1Xtra's Grime Symphony featured some of the genre's biggest names, including Wretch 32 and Stormzy, backed by the Metropole Orchestra.

It's not the first time urban music has come to the BBC Proms - Dizzee Rascal performed in 2009, and Wretch 32 was part of the Urban Classic Prom two years ago.

Here's a review of last night's Grime Symphony from reporter and enthusiastic grime fan Darcy Thomas.

image captionInside the Royal Albert Hall

"I never went to the urban BBC Proms prior to this, but one thing is for sure, tonight was definitely an OMG moment for grime music.

"I arrived at the venue to find the queue going round the building.

"It was nice to see a mix of cultures at such a British establishment. The best thing about this was the fact it was the music and its authenticity that brought such people to the 144 year old venue.

"To quote Mistajam 'I don't think the Royal Albert Hall has ever let so many black tracksuits in the building', though some people were smartly dressed too.

"The atmosphere was euphoric and nostalgic. The music captured the essence of grime and the venue embodied what it is to be British while supplying the perfect setting for the night's event. Completely juxtaposing grime culture, it created a uniqueness which can't be emulated."

image captionStormzy

"Stormzy, backed with a live orchestra, sounded like a James Bond soundtrack, but with Idris Elba starring as 007. The crowd reaction was immense.

"His stage presence was graceful and powerful. After watching the performance, it's clear why he's named himself the grime scene saviour.

"Wretch 32, opened with his song 6 Words which saw the crowd erupt as they sung along to the lyrics. In Wretchrospect (sorry!) The emotion of the track was definitely felt by the whole of the Royal Albert Hall."

image captionWretch 32

"Little Simz's control of her words, her flow on the beat, her projection and the soothing sounds of the backing vocalists made her time on stage one of the most intimate performances of the night.

"Then she quickly switched it up with an American 'trap style' hip hop sound to close, which made the crowd go crazy."

image captionLittle Simz

"Fekky was Way Too Much even without Skepta on stage. Still Sittin' Here was 100 per cent as engaging as when it debuted. Though he lacked the guest features which would have added so much more to his set, Fekky undoubtedly left the audience wanting more.

"Krept & Konan killed it. Fans watched in amazement as the rap duo jumped around stage to Freak Of The Week. The backing from the violinists made Don't Waste My Time sound like it was judgement day. The two men seated behind me said, 'they smashed it'."

image captionKrept and Konan
image captionFekky
image captionWretch 32 and Shola Ama

"Wretch brought on Shola Ama who complimented Don't Go in a way which couldn't be described in words.

"She closed her time on stage with a re-fix of her old R&B track You Might Need Somebody, which sounded as good as ever.

"Chip's performance began relaxed, then he quickly picked up the tempo with I'm Fine.

The grime school remake of The Streets cover by the orchestra completed Chips medley. He then came back with special guests Kano and Wretch 32. All in all this seemed to be the performance which looked the most enjoyable to be part of."

image captionChip

"Lethal Bizzle had the complete 'aDenchion' (Lethal Bizzle's phrase for attention) of the audience with his high octane solo performance of Rari Workout.

"When Fester Skank dropped that was it. I would have never pictured the Royal Albert Hall ever getting that excited to the Fester Skank but amazing things happened. Hearing Pow was a complete flashback to the early days of grime."

image captionShakka and Lethal Bizzle

"As the conductor of the Metropole Orkest began to open his next piece, Wretch gave him his two AR chains to wear, which was special. It completed the look of a real grime music conductor.

"To conclude the review, I can only say this: don't miss the next one!"

image captionMetropole Orchestra conductor Jules Buckley and Wretch 32

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