3rd December | Louisiana
Photos: Lee Ramsey
Kojaque casually strolled up to the stage through the packed-out top room of the Louisiana, sporting an all-black Crack Mag hoodie, to open with the track ‘White Noise’. Kojaque and Kean Kavanagh, who was behind the decks, were met with a sea of cheers from what was a clearly invested crowd.
The difference between the live performance from the studio recordings became clear almost instantly. The Soft Boy Records poster boy brought an extremely aggressive and high-tempo approach to the set, pacing the stage and punching his razor-sharp lyrics in his thick Irish accent.
While different from what some may have expected if they had only heard his most popular tracks, the crowd were there for it, dancing and cheering throughout. ‘Love and Braggadocio’ was the fourth track of the night, to which a fan in the front row promptly raised a cardboard sign decorated with the Irish flag, with the chorus of the track, “The Emerald Isle’s answer to The Chronic” a nod to Dr. Dre’s 1992 debut studio album.
After five classic tracks, Kojaque whispered, “new music?” into the mic before asking for the lights to be dimmed, before dropping two unreleased tunes, both featuring catch hooks and a step back towards the melodic style of Deli Daydreams. The first track covered the all-too-familiar dissection of navigating romance, while the second displayed Kojaque’s shift in goals from just wanting to get by to dreaming big.
As anticipated, Luka Palm entered the room halfway through the set. The duo performed ‘Phoenix’, ‘Chew Toy’ and ‘Paris, Texas’ from their collaborative project, Green Diesel before throwing it back to ‘Politicksis’ from Kojaque’s debut. These tracks saw a return to the style Kojaque opened the gig with, a lot more angsty than you might expect from a group who label themselves ‘soft boys’. That’s not to say it wasn’t extremely well received.
When ‘Politicksis’ came around, the general mood of the performance changed. It was clear that the track addresses the darker truths of growing up in Dublin. You could feel the venom in the Dubliners’ voices, addressing a topic they clearly care a lot about. To ‘finish’ the main set was ‘Wificode’, which was followed by Kojaque creating an artificial encore by politely telling the crowd this would be the time they walked off stage if the venue layout permitted.
The classic Kojaque track fell into a void between his 2016 mixtape, Sunday Roast and his debut Deli Daydreams. While the track may have not made the cut for an album, its high-energy had Kojaque calling out, “Hey, Bristol, I heard you were crazy,” after reloading the intro for the chaotic crowd.
‘Eviction Notice’ opened the encore, which saw Kean leave the decks for the first time to sing the opening line. This was clearly the most popular track of the night, bringing the crowd into a mellow awe in comparison to the rest of the gig.
This was followed by ‘Date Night’ before concluding on ‘SPIT DAT OUT’, where it became clear that the last hour was the product of three extremely good friends, seeing how well they bounced off each other – a poetic ending with all three stood bobbing front and centre together.
See the video for ‘White Noise’ here: