Kojey Radical // Live Review & Photoset

18th November | Thekla

Words & Photos: Michael Brumby

Mercy’s Cartel kicked off the evening with their three-piece band: steady technical drumming with some atmospheric electronic backing, fronted by the soulful lyrics of Mercy Sotire. Mercy captivated the audience with her perfect pitch control. After luring the crowd in with their soulful sound they switched gears and dropped a cover of Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’. This animated the audience, getting them moving to every beat.

Soulful and beautiful Mercy’s Cartel was a soothing warm up to Etta Bond, who in no time was gracing the stage with her sassy and sensual performance, filling the whole boat with a charged energy with her personality and her lyrics. The underlying bass made the rivets of this boat dance, giving the night some real presence. In saying that, her last song had an ethereal quality, really pushing her vocal range to show how versatile her voice voice really is.

Before the much anticipated headliner, Selecta Suave followed with a solo warm-up, armed with a mic and his laptop, providing heavy bass beats, really getting the crowd bouncing in anticipation. It felt more of an extended intro for Kojey Radical and his collective than a set of its own.

So onto Kojey Radical and his Can I Speak tour. In classic Kojey style, he strutted on stage with his trademark red beret and mic in hand, fusing the crowd together in a huge cheer. Flanked by his live band, (Selecta stayed on stage) the show began. The lighting matched his energetic style to a tee with strobes, smoke and every light source in the building flashing. Kojey looked genuinely happy to be playing and showed a real appreciation of old and new fans attending.

Moving like a hurricane, using all available space and slapping hands with the audience, Kojey had charisma by the truck load. Cheeky smiles between lyrics showed how much fun he was having on stage. You could tell that he felt at home and that this is his true calling and as a result, it made for a captivating show.

The set was perfectly formed, with songs bleeding with deep and meaningful lyrics to songs that got the whole boat swaying from side to side. I’m in no doubt that his ability to sell out gigs nationwide means that his next visit will be at a venue boasting a much larger capacity, like the O2 Academy, SWX or the infamous Bristol Arena. As his next tour is intended to be called “Kojey Goes Where Kojey Wants,” let’s hope Bristol is one of those places.

See the video to ’97’ here: