LIVE: Bakar @ Jimmy’s 01.10.18
WORDS BY PABLO BLANQUITO
There are a chorus of ‘experts’ who insist British music lacks rebellion, a cause or a youth movement to give it the edge that brings vitality and authenticity. In truth the world has changed so much since the heyday of youth movements that it is unlikely to ever be that same breeding ground again. Rebellion has a new face in the form of Bakar.
In a basement full of youthful faces wearing their best Stüssy and Balençiaga, on a rainy Manchester Monday night, one voice implores the crowd. “They told me Manchester was noisy? Come on!” Bakar is at the forefront of a new kind of authenticity. One that chooses to reject all assumed musical tropes and take whatever influences they want, combine them and make something fresh, real and vital. He and artists like King Krule, Puma Blue and Hak Baker set fire to all the old rules of what can be combined and which lines can be crossed by whom.
He arrived on stage through the crowd, lean and dressed with dandyish singularity. His band playing a skanking rhythm that was unexpected in its instant super tight energy. No intros were given, just bang and straight into ‘One Way’. It was clear he wasn’t going to mess about. He challenged the crowd to represent their city and not be so passive. He didn’t mince his words.
Bakar‘s music ranges from the anthemic and sing-along to the mellow and emotional. This, if nothing else represents this new G Folk / Punk Soul style. It bleeds from established genre to genre without any loss of passion or composure. It is eclectically authentic.
Now he had the crowd noisy and singing back at full volume he climbed up onto the speaker stack and kicked into ‘Handful’ with velocity. His whole crew and the support act singing along all around the venue. He stopped midway into ‘All In’ to tell some people scuffling that ” We don’t have none of that bad energy here. It’s only love here and when we are here together we are one. 0161 vibes” to massive applause. Truly impressive. As was his flawless control of both vibe and crowd throughout the night.
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He paused to gain his breath and sing something new called ‘Chill’ followed by his two most accomplished and genre defying tracks ‘WTF’ and ‘Ctrl Alt Dlt’. The first being brilliantly changed from Smino-esque, midspeed ,voice altered style to a straight ballad. He then upped the ante and flipped the ‘WTF’ to a faster harder vibe while swinging from the overhead pipes to the management’s great concern.
Aside from the high energy and the serious musicality of his band, what impresses most about Bakar is his stage craft, charisma and ability at this early stage in his career to effortlessly genre bend at will. He isn’t settling for simple repetition and playback he’s setting the bar high for himself and he expects the audience to deliver the same way.