Gilles on the Worldwide Awards stage © 2015
Anticipation was in the air as lucky ticket holders arrived at Koko London for the 10th installment of the Worldwide Awards show. I told myself this was because of the acts soon to perform on stage, despite the excited squeals coming from the queue about the ‘largest disco ball in Europe’. Eyes were fixed firmly on the stage as things kicked off however, so as not to miss any of the impressive line up or the well conceptualised cross-continental visuals.
Adrian Younge was the first to be announced, after an introduction from Alex Patchwork. Playing a mixture of funk, soul and hip hop, Adrian had the crowd suitably warmed up and finished in style with Dionne Warwick’s ‘You’re Gonna Need Me’. He was then joined on stage by Bilal for an acoustic session of silky vibrato and immensely controlled falsetto vocals alongside fender Rhodes, played by Younge himself.
Lil Silva then had the crowd snapping fingers to trap, garage, bass and a touch of grime; and he even orchestrated a sing along to Kelis and André 3000’s ‘Millionaire‘. Playing skwee-like electronic funk riffs, Oliver Johnson wowed us with lightning quick hands feverishly rolling a pitch wheel. Dorian Concept‘s trio, driven by the tireless and electrifying drum playing of Cid Rim, made more than a few jaws drop early on.
Taylor McFerrin then took to the stage. Having been touring since his first visit to London last October (albeit on a much smaller stage in Dalston), it was clear that this has worked wonders for the quality of his live performance. Most notably, the inclusion of live drums from renowned young drummer Marcus Gilmore, but also for Taylor’s much more complete execution, typified in his jazzy piano solos and beatbox skit.
Alex Patchwork played a selection of songs from the worldwide playlist including Photay’s ‘No Sass ‘as the stage was readied for the emergence of the Heliocentrics, but not before a few awards were presented. There was also a surprise performance from Best Session Award winner Melanie De Biasio , which seemed incredibly fitting when, while eavesdropping (again), I overheard the exact words, ‘that was the best thing I have ever seen.’ But then again, she really was that good.
The Heliocentrics and Marshall Allen took the crowd to outerspace with a psychedelic set, the icing on the cake being a rendition of Sun Ra’s ‘Space is the Place‘ with Bilal who had joined them back on stage. The crowd were then encouraged to loosen their joints with some more uptempo sets. Lone spinning some De La Soul classics, Modeselektor-come-Africa Clap! Clap!, and wizard fingers Seven Davis Jr who killed it, especially with ‘P.A.R.T.Y’.
Fatima and her Eglo band were next up to much appreciation, and she stole the show with flawless vocals over backing that was so tight, it was as if the band had perfected telepathy. With a sterling performance, ‘Biggest Joke of All’ was easily a highlight. After Brownswood jewels Anushka performed, Skinny Macho and Atjazz rounded off the evening’s antics with two sets which, while differing largely in their styles, played equally dark and deep.
It was a lot to take in for one evening, but then again, that’s what makes Gilles Peterson the well trusted selector, label owner, curator and musicologist that he is. Roll on, WWA 2016!