The season of summer brings out the best in music festivals, by virtue of the affinity- "festivals - its important that a festival captures the essence of the musical affirmation on show, a show of for the love of the music if you will. Innervisions Festival, London, 2019 offered a diaspora of musical assertion, the vocal and instrumental sounds, enthused in a way that announces beauty of form, and yet more poignantly, Innervisions Festival, doing what music always does, a music festival expressing harmony and expression of emotion.
The Innervisions is hosted by AGMP Ltd, over four days, in a variety of London venues, comprising of 30 plus artists from arounnd the world, offering the very best of Soul, Jazz, Blues, Funk, Reggae, Hip Hop, Latin and world Music, something for everybody's something, in respects of the roll call, artist would include Saul Williams, Van Morrision, Robert Glasper, James Hunter, Dle Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra, to name more than a few, leaving musical tastes to dabble at will.
First stop: Robert Glasper, Roundhouse Camden - Wednesday - With a wave of energy just stood in the queue, it was clear what with concert goers dressed in "fashion statement" way, and not at all, Robert Glasper's musical diaspora is clearly stretched far and wide, notably not consisting of an age group not consistent in any way. Singer, pianist, Record Producer, multiple nominated Grammy Awards nominee, reveling in his distinction of Jazz, Hip hop, Soul, not to mention Rhythm and Blues, just before he hit the stage for his set; the mood had already bought into a specified state.
Lights low, giving the space an immediate feel, with Jazz pieces, using piano and uncompromising hip-hop beats, the musical monologue was smooth, deep in the rhythm of nod your head, and in the Jazz way unpredictable. To the novice, with his appearing to stop and start, whilst asking the audience if was the beat was good enough may appear lazy, however this was Robert Glasper, and his fans, the intrigue of the music was the hook, the piano renditions did take you "there", enthusing the easiness of Neo-soul, with the wildness of all that Jazz, with hands swaying, and cheers lauding, it was a personal set that allowed everybody to vibe together, on their own.
Second Stop: Saul Williams- Under the Bridge- Thursday, from the get-go, Saul Stacey Williams, American poet, rapper, actor, cloaked in the glory of the 1998 independent film 'Slam', and Amethyst Rock Star- his debut album, and the 2013 jukebox musical 'Holler if Ya Hear Me', and generally all-round activist engaging in digital dialogues between the 1st world and 3rd worlds, and the global street sounds that yoke the two, it's fair to say the fan was not at work on Thursday night, and admittedly the point of the evening was about vibration, with a narrative such as; "they'll tell you your story how you want to tell it. The algorithm of the sun and moon where the planets were when I first saw you", yet again, everybody there had already bought into a specified state.
It was great, and rebel-rousing narrative, never that far aside, complemented with go-hard hip hop beats, and Rock, Saul Williams with an eloquence of poetic articulation, of which speaks to a universal emotion, it has humanity in mind. Dressed in a long, black Angel Jacket, black t-shirt, black jeans, Black solider=me boots with studded silver spikes lined symmetrically, with no announcement needed, walking on stage to a cacophony of whispers, propping a sticker-ed laptop on a stand, inserting the jack, with a compact digital piano close by, while the digital graphic background played out snapshots of 'rebel', 'tyranny', middle finger sentimentalism to the "establishment", in a digitally affecting, collage type way.
With the poem, informing the packed Bridge venue as to why he was there, by way almost poetic parallels with space and time, by the time his hard-hitting, thought provoking set with coded language got to 'Sha-Clack-Clack', and remonstrations yelled; if I could find the spot where truth echoes, I would stand there and whisper memories of my children’s future, the crowd, and myself repeated well known and much felt words, in the spirit of humane, divine, justice and eternity, Saul Williams did not fail to deliver an incredible soul-stirring set.
Third Stop: Janet Kay & Carrol Thompson- Under the Bridge- The queens of Lovers Rock, their music is a pillar of the UK Black Culture, a genre of which they crated, perfected, and wooed generations with, needless to attending the show would be a sing along that everybody knew the words to.
Janet Kay- the 'First British born Black Female Artist to have No.1 in the British Pop Charts, almost reciting 'Silly Games', and 'I Do Love You', such is the biblical nature of her sweet voice, Janet's queen of Reggae accolade was, affectionately "after all this time" never in doubt .
With a sing along crowd in full voice, literally waving on their dance floor of abandonment, the sweetness of Janet Kay's voice, and Carrol Thompson's soulful reggae tone, enthused with a unified precipitation spanning colour defined Reggae music in the UK, it was a wonderful night with a genre of music legendary in its status, and timeless in its appeal. With Carroll Thompson sending the crowd into frenzy with 'Hopelessly in Love', 'Yesterday', and 'Simply in Love', cited as the most soulful in British Reggae music, and taking turns to sing a selection of well versed, and well known hits, including cover classics, and others whisked you away down reminisce lane, with the intimacy of the Bridge venue, the female majority crowd made no apologies for making it feel as if was "ladies night".
With other shows attended, including the likes of Joel Culpper & Chloe Bodur
, and a night dedicated to Fela Kuti:Saluting the Black President, fundamentally what The Innversions Festival was able to communicate was the Music having the capacity to mimic emotions; the temporal patterns of music mirroring emotional lives; the introduction, the build-up, the climax and the closure.
More importantly, taking away impressions of the Innervisions Festival, taking into consideration the diverse genres and artists the Festival was able to showcase, what was notable is the expressiveness being an objective property of the music, and as music's expressiveness is certainly response-dependent, i.e. it is realised in the listener's judgement, the judgement of The Innervisions Festival, is a Festival that appeased taste, and nostalgia of which elicited real emotional responses in the listener, a festival that requires it's place in the Festival calendar, and I for one already looking forward to next year’s line-up.