Former member of the grime collective ‘B.O.M.B Squad’. Hak Baker played a two night sold out show at Bethnal Green Working Mens Club. Hailing from the Isle of Dogs, Hak’s music is a depiction of working class life in East London. He captures the gritty realism of the everyday humdrum. Amongst narrating the celebration of youth and friendship.
Tuesday night’s set was hard hitting and direct, yet personal. The front-man would talk to the crowd and break out jokes. He would often sing the first verse of a song only to stop and address the crowd in conversation, and then return back to the music. The East London boy’s rapport with the crowd was intimate and friendly.
The whole gig was stripped back and intricate. Often comprised of solely Hak and an acoustic guitar. Bellowing vocals over arpeggiated chords, telling stories of nights out and life on The Isle of Dogs.
The Instrumentation throughout the set was tight and punchy. The drummer’s rhythms were fresh and exciting- full of creative improvisation. The bass lines were thick and textured- weaving in and out of the vocal lines. The lead guitar was jazzy and spontaneous- the driving backbone of the night, keeping the crowd entertained. The trumpet section on the track ‘Like it or lump it’ captured the atmosphere of the night, the party-like intensity of the crowd.
On a track such as ‘Conundrum’, the crowd showed unity and togetherness. It was as though the whole of London had come out to support their East London boy. Every person in the venue sung in unison, word for word.
The performance and music in general captures a totally unique and untouched atmosphere, that no other artist seems to infiltrate. The realism of the music is the appeal that draws such a diverse crowd of people. Comparisons can be drawn, from artists such as Mike Skinner of The Streets, Jamie T and others. Hak’s music has been coined as ‘G Folk’ but even though elements of folk can be heard in his songs, to label him as solely a folk artist doesn’t do his music justice. Genres such as Jazz, Hip-Hop, Grime and Alternative Rock can definitely be heard.
With one more show in Belfast, to conclude Hak’s successful UK tour- future projects and success can only be anticipated from the up and coming I.O.D front-man.