Akala - Thekla, Bristol
It's impossible to leave an Akala show without feeling ready to take down the government. The rapper, poet and journalist took to the stage in Bristol to support his new mixtape Knowledge is Power, Vol 2 with his own brand of political rabble rousing.
Starting his set by playing a montage of clips of various riots, historical events and prominent black figures, Akala entered to passionate cheers and began first song 'Bang With Us'. This set up of having the Londoner sing both live and on screen, which continued through most of the set, made it possible to marvel at the exact expert timing of each lyric - his quick eloquent rapping is an art form all its own.
The crowd were receptive from the start, chanting back lines to new hits 'Sun Tzu' and 'Murder Runs the Globe'. Despite focusing on playing much from the new album, he still included older favourites, with the crowd mobilising in seconds as the beat of his 2006 hit 'Shakespeare' starts up.
With lyrics centred almost entirely around society, racism, politics and the class system, the songs alone are enough to bring these important issues to the foreground of the crowd's mind. However to express his views more explicitly, mid-set Akala dons an army suit, grabs a cane and inhabits the role of rich politician Pompous Peterson. A hilarious speech to the "chavs and immigrants" about money, power and proper English has the crowd cheering and booing at all the right moments. Despite the pantomime elements, the overall message is powerful and continues to resonate long after the show ends.
With a loyal fan base - demonstrated by the passion of his audience - as long as Kingslee James Daley (the rapper's real name) keeps playing he will continue to inspire crowds everywhere he goes. Long live the revolution.
Words by Maisie Newman
Last updated: 04/05/2018 15:03:31