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19.2.14

MUSIC: Shane Chubbz's Chubbziano EP Listening Party


"Always early!"

These are the words the man of the evening, Shane Chubbz greeted me with as I crossed Warwick street to get to the doors of the Sanctum Soho.

This, I found incredibly amusing as he appears to be the only person I know who thinks this of me. He walks me into the lobby and lets the attendant (who I have christened Hellboy because he looked strikingly like Ron Perlman... perhaps it was the red lighting) know I'm allowed in and points me in the direction of the stairs leading to the basement the party was confined to.

The Sanctum Soho is perched rather quietly on Warwick street next to NOPI and diagonal to Massimo Dutti. I came in off Regent Place and might've missed it completely if I hadn't spotted Shane outside.

That being said, the interior was a whole other story. It was dark and dimly-lit with red and black hues and leather upholstery dominating the lobby. The Sanctum Soho had a strong essence of unadulterated indulgence about it with an effortlessly swanky, "blues" atmosphere. It was what I'd imagine New Age rock 'n' roll to look like if it were a hotel. I really wish I'd taken more pictures but as I explained here, my camera was being a big fat baby.


I quickly headed downstairs to the cinema. It was five minutes past and, although we all know 8pm never actually means 8pm, I just had to double check.


It was completely deserted, save for a few early birds like myself who had conglomerated at the bar which was fully stocked with the likes of Merlot , Campo Nuevo and Krug. I quite liked that the listening party was being held in the cinema; the acoustics were superb and there were minimal distractions from the music without being unaesthetic.

Out of nowhere, the smell of jollof rice hit me like a freight train and, with one longing look at who I think was the DJ with a paper container that confirmed my suspicions, I was out of there ASAP (man, I miss Nigerian food).

I retreated to the bathroom to get my pen and notepad out because with my flaky memory, I couldn't leave anything to chance and then proceeded to entertain myself with cheeky selfies.


By 9.15pm, the room was brimming with people and the volume of the R'n'B background music had been raised. I was extremely tempted to just play Candy Crush in the bathroom until it started but that was just a terribly sad way to kill time... so I people-watched in the cinema instead. Everybody seemed to know somebody which was funny because I knew nobody. Shane had apparently gone home to change however a few people kept repeating he was going to be there in five minutes... every five minutes.

I was incredibly grateful when the waiter came over with the mini burgers below.


It could have done without as much flour dusting but it was delicious nonetheless. I must have looked quite pathetic because around about then, Aisha and Ify, two lovely ladies from Culpavinum came over to chat. We exchanged cards rather excitedly pretty soon after that.

We headed over to the bar which was incredibly crowded for no apparent reason. Some people did not seem to be interested in getting a drink - or had already acquired one - but they seemed to think it appropriate to take up the space anyway.

As I pondered why the bar was ultimately like light to flies, a glass of Perrier Jouet was placed firmly in my hands with a quick smile from the bartender. Aisha, Ify and I then fluttered away from the bar. We ran into Aifé from Stay Fly at that point, and he was nice enough to say hi to me!

It was another marginally long wait before Shane arrived, during which I spotted Uzzee and 3Feat from Creative Elevation. Cue the embarrassingly copious amounts of fan-girling on my part. I don't care what anyone else says, I'm classing everybody I recognized as a celebrity because that makes me feel like a really creepy stalker for knowing who they are.

But of course, I didn't go up to them. Oh, no. No, that would have been far too fortuitous and, as we all know, mine is a tale of blundering miscues and comic misfortune. On the upside, the wonderful Flo Riff saw that I was all on my lonesome again and came over with her friend who was also really nice. I was incredibly pleased to find out Flo was the one who had provided the vocals for Pockets. I had Googled to within an inch of my life looking for her! I strongly urge you to check out her music; she has such a smooth, soulful voice.

I met Salewa, Shane Chubbz' PR guy as well. Honestly, I can now say there is nothing scarier than hearing someone go, "Are you the Chaotic Dreamer?" But he was really sweet - and surprisingly young. It got me thinking; everyone I'd spoken to was less than twenty-five by the looks of it, and did something exciting or other. But it was the wafts of Chanel No. 5 and Paco Rabanne, the Balenciaga shoes and Celine bags that let me know I'd basically walked into the British Gossip Girl.

Suddenly, Shane Chubbz burst into the room with as much energy as Ludacris back in the early 2000s. After a brief introduction to a raving crowd, the hard-hitting instrumentals for the intro, European Wavy Boy (a term coined by the guys at Favela Maison, he informed us) kicked off. The lyricism was amusing and egotistic with jazzy hip-hop production courtesy of DAP, who couldn't make it that night.


The next track was Tequila - probably my favourite of the seven right now - performed with vintage visuals on the screen behind (I can't particular remember what the visuals were at the moment, but I scribbled the words 'Bye Bye Birdie' in Tequila's section of my notepad so take from that what you will). The saxophone-driven Latin-jazz instrumental was just heaven.

As Chubbz performed, Uzzee was sat to the side of the stage and I just knew he too was going to grace us with a few bars. Brimming levels of excitement rose even more!

That's Uzzee, for those who don't know #ISeeYouBoo

Tequila graduated into an a capella sesh as the DJ appeared to be having some technical difficulties, with Uzzee casually sauntering onstage.

It has to be said, Shane has quite the stage presence. He was animated, audacious and looking hella cosy on that stage, owning it completely. What does not even need to be said is the lyrical prowess he exhibited during his performance. Uzzee's performance - an excerpt from Singing Miracles - was fire as well. I managed to catch a bit of that on camera, so look out for a video later today. It really does speak for himself; the boy is highly underrated.

The next track on the EP, Unbelievable Scenes (which Shane told us was what kicked off the Chubbziano process) was greeted with the loudest round of applause. It was as if Chris Kamara's intro had blessed the entire audience with mental copies of the lyrics because we all ended up rapping along with Shane. As I've never been to a proper concert (shame on me, I know), this was most entertaining. Shane Chubbz even came down to the roped-off semi-circle in font of the stage at one point which was incredibly cool.

(L-R) Shane Chubbz, Uzzee and Phlowz

Special shout-outs were then duly given to Uzzee, Phlowz and the rest of the guys from Creative Elevation, as well as DAP, Aifé and all of Stay Fly.

Poor Olu, the DJ really could have done with a few extra "dress rehearsals" but it wasn't terribly bad, and Shane handled it quite well with a few playful jabs in his direction. Pockets was up next, a track that features Mick Jenkins, Flo Riff and DAP with a few dollars falling in black and white on the screen. This time, Shane just let us listen to it; possibly an attempt to give Olu some time to sort himself out.

Whatever the reason, it gave me time to scribble down my thoughts furiously (and ultimately, illegibly). It was at this point that Niyi-Juwon, who runs World Famous Naija, asked me what blog I wrote for. We had a really interesting chat - 'intriguing' is the word that comes to forefront when I think of how to describe him - and he informed me he's been blogging for fourteen years. I found this absolutely mind-blowing. I don't think I've ever done anything that long, other than breathe and go to school. Do check his blog out; his writing is apt and amusing, and he's got incredible taste in music, obviously, because it is similar to mine - and we all know mine is the be-all and end-all.

During the intermission, most people went off for refills so I took that opportunity to pap them as I felt I was being a crappy blogger.


When Chubbz returned to the stage, Monday Night Raw was next up; a track which features DRB Las Gidi's Teezee. Fitting black-and-white clips from old RAW shows playedon the screen behind them with the Rock, the Undertaker and Steve Austin making appearances, if memory serves me correctly. It reminded me of the days when I used to try those moves out on my poor unsuspecting little brother. Good times, good times.

The track itself featured a strong thumping bass over a bouncy - and incredibly catchy - electronic 90's tune I was willing to bet I'd heard before but now I'm not so sure. It was really interactive as well as we all had to chant "Chubbziano" over the infectious beat.

Next up was Singing Miracles which Shane performed with Phlowz, the red static on screen creating the perfect ambience for the throwback, Otis Redding-esque track produced by Hannibal King. My notes on this song look like I'd let a drunk chicken claw at my book but I do remember that Phlowz was extremely good; everyone in the room appeared to be nodding along in unison, intuitively vibing to his rhymes. I think this was when Chubbz sat on the edge of the stage and just got mad real as well... or maybe it was during Foreigner.

Forgive me, I'm slowly coming to the realization that I might've been a little tipsy; my writing is pretty neat on a normal day.

Foreigner was the outro to the EP. For the life of me, I don't know where the rest of the clip I recorded of that performance is because it was quite magical and I would've loved for you guys to see it. Perhaps it was the soft piano-driven production, or the mellow superimposed chorus of children's voices... or maybe it was both, further emphasized towards the end when Shane stood with his arms stretched out on stage and his head held back as he soaked it all in. Either way, it really was a mesmerizing sight and I'm deeply sorry I have nothing to show for it.


After that, Shane wrapped up the show by thanking the usual suspects again - Creative Elevation, Stay Fly, Favela Maison, with a well-deserved double whammy for DAP. He then thanked us immensely for coming out to support him before bidding us good night and heading offstage.

Suddenly, the concept of time resurfaced and it dawned on me that I had no idea how late the tubes stayed open so I slinked off pretty soon after that, saying goodbye to Shane at the door and some of the awesome people I'd met on the way.

It really did take all my energy to leave though. Walking out of the Sanctum Soho was like the clock striking twelve, reminding Cinderella that she needed to get her ass back to the real world pronto. But it was a brilliant night overall. Definitely glad I came!

The Chubbziano EP dropped today. I haven't done the tracks nearly enough justice because this post is far too long, so a review is in order. Check Chubbziano out below. It's available to download for free on Audiomack.

So I pose the question: with music this good, what on earth are you waiting for?



...

For the fashion heads out there, I had limited bag-space and packing time so I didn't do anything fancy. But I can definitely vouch for everyone else, they looked incredible!

What was not incredible however, was the blatant disregard for the cameras. I don't think it's asking too much for people to just duck out of the way.

Seriously, how miniature does the picture make me look?
Jacket - Topshop | Jumper - ZARA | Boyfriend Jeans - Primark | Boots - Topshop



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