Going into his opening track ‘Hail’ from his latest release Made in the Manor a lot of which dominated his set list, (which recently gained him a Mercury prize nomination for ‘Album of the year’) Kano walked out on to a stage only illuminated by red flashing lights which seemed like a whisper of the performance to come.
Kano seems to be the type of artist who despite his talent for lyricism and performing, remains incredibly humble as one of the longest grime artists around with a career spanning over a decade. Seen especially through the couple of times he spoke to the crowd, showing his appreciation for the many young faces at the front but also for the people who had been - let’s just say ‘messing’ - with him from ten years back; as he pulled out some tracks from his earlier days like ‘Ps and Qs’, ‘Typical Me’ and ‘Ghetto Kyote’.
Even those ‘young faces’ that may not have known them were mirroring the relentless energy that Kano had, powering through track to track until the very end of the show. It was no surprise to me that when the crowd was asking for more after his apparent close with ‘My Sound’, that he back came out and delivered more than what the crowd were expecting with ‘3 Wheel-Ups’ and his 2015 comeback song ‘GarageSkankFreestyle’. He has the ability to bring his songs to life on stage and make it look effortless, as he raps however many bars a minute without breaking much of a sweat and basically having the crowd in the palm of his hand.
As a Londoner myself, I can say that it felt like he brought that East London realness with him to the Edinburgh Liquid Room. And as someone who has been a fan from when my older sister introduced me to grime many years ago, it was amazing to see Kano perform live and reminded why l have such an affinity for it today.
Rianna Sian Andrews