The recent In The Round series has brought a selection of unusual, throwback and popular acts to London’s The Roundhouse. For just over a month, this iconic Camden-based arts and culture venue will transform its interior, to create a more intimate, close up music experience with seats replacing the 3,000+ standing capacity venue’s floor space. Last week, GIGsoup’s Toby Jarvis immersed himself in Portico Quartet’s return to the stage, praising the groups transformation in both name and sound. You can read all about that show here.
Kicking off February was a recent nostalgia act; an act that allot of grime and uk hip-hop fans will most certainly know by name; Chipmunk. Or rather, now he goes by Chip. After rising to acclaim in the mid 2000s with his debut hit ‘Oopsy Daisy’, and further breaking the American market with ‘Champion’, featuring Chris Brown, Chip was an interesting choice for ‘In The Round’ which has incredibly jazz and filk music flavoured this year.
With grime currently powering back into the international subconscious, Chip has been strangely absent from the party. Last year however, he released the hotly tipped sequel to his debut mixtape, ‘League of My Own’ which allowed the Tottenham-hailing rapper to break into mainstream music. ‘League Of My Own II’ received praise across the board, and included features to some of the UK’s hottest grime talent (Wiley, Giggs and Kojo Funds to name but a few).
The Roundhouse began to fill up tentatively as the doors were opened at 7pm. The almost six hour showcase was set to feature some firery up-and coming UK talent, with Ms Banks, Fred Freddas and Deewen all shaking the walls with their interesting production and clever lyrical flow. Ms Banks was a particular stand-out; she commanded the stage, riding and manipulating some incredibly hard production with ease. She preformed with a constant expression of happiness- she presented as an artist who wholeheartedly loves her work, and lives and breathes an appreciation for the art form. You can find her work on Soundcloud here.
As Ms Banks departed, the DJ booth was wheeled neatly off the stage to make room for a complete band setup; drums, guitar, bass and a set of synthesisers all became set pieces for an potentially fresh take on Chip’s heavily electronic production. There was a poignant change in the atmosphere of the space when the band swaggered onto the stage. It almost felt like the room had shifted; it felt larger, more expansive, with the audience leaving their seats to cluster at the front.
Chip bounded onto the stage to a huge burst of applause. GIGsoup has seen many shows, but very rarely have we seen a audience change so rapidly and provide such an atmospheric shift. Clearly, Chip still has a lot of fans, and even if you’re lukewarm about his music, it was really impossible not to be swept up with everyone else’s’ excitement. Surely, thats a large part of why we seek to see music live; as a way of connecting with others that share the same appreciation we do.
Throughout his almost two hour show he rocketed through his hits, old and new. His skippy 2009 hit ‘Chip Diddy Chip’ got the whole audience bouncing along, with the live band adding some interesting depth to the track’s synth focused sound. Chip’s production has inevitably been coloured by the massive global success of trap in the last few years, and his 2017 track ‘Honestly’ utilised his drummers full potential to make the leading drums on the track much more visceral.
Over the years, Chip has collaborated with a number of big names in UK music; so there was always going to be an element of suspense tied to his guest features on the night. Would it be Wiley? Jme? Kojo Funds? The list goes on, and on and on, with Chip utilising a host of of hot grime talent in ‘League of My Own II’. Around the halfway point of the night, the booming, unmistakable voice of Giggs filled the speakers of The Roundhouse.
It’s fairly safe to say that Giggs is broadly much more popular than Chip now, and arguably has a much more interesting voice and is definitely much harder hitting production wise. At the moment, he is part of a wave of London-based rappers who are absolutely dominating the UK scene in a way that Chip isn’t. Even though he is older than Chip, he is much more current and this was reflected very much in the audience’s reaction to his entrance. The crowd, who were already very much invested in what they were seeing went absolutely berserk. Within two songs, Gigg’s ultimately stole the show. His massive 2016 hit ‘Whipping Excursion’ has become one of the poster-tracks for the fresh sounds of grime; you can imagine the reaction when it’s unmistakable intro began. Was it a mistake to bring him on? Possibly, but ultimately Chip presented himself well, to a crowd of fans in an iconic venue. What more could you ask for really?