Live Review: Red Bull Music Academy Sound System at Notting Hill Carnival

My Monday morning motivation is lacking at the best of times, and so pulling the curtains open on the morning of what has since been called Dank Holiday Monday left me feeling a little less than enthused. But alas, the beckoning promise of rum and riddims under London’s glorious Westway succeeded at getting me out of my PJs, into my waterproofs and onto the number 52.

As I made my way down Ladbroke Grove, I was pleased to see that the rain hadn’t obliterated the party. Beautiful dancers in beautiful costumes had simply done the sensible thing, and donned a poncho to protect all dem sequins. About 50% of the faces I passed wore wide smiles, the rest merely stood in disbelief. Approaching the RBMA party, I must admit I was rather grateful for the concrete shelter in the distance: the inspiration that is the A40.

Tucked underneath were a few hundred people shakin’ off that rain and getting into the rhythm. The party bar made it all the better, dishing out pears and mangoes with rum, each drink served with a side of dancing bartender.

Protoje & Yaadcore took the tempo down a notch and gave us a much-needed reggae remedy. Basement Jaxx followed to fill the headline slot, bringing with them a handful of feathered carnival ladies. The crowd was appreciative, perhaps most for the old classics Romeo and Good Luck, although we did note that their new album, Junto, just dropped.

We broke to refuel, and opted to sample the sweet potato fries served with a red bull and scotch bonnet relish. You read that right. It’s been over 24 hours since then and I still can’t make up my mind just how I feel about it. My better judgment is telling me it was all shades of wrong, but deep down I think I really did enjoy it.

Last up on stage were The Heatwave, which is what we all wanted anyway, and not just cos of their name. Tune after tune, they offered the lucky crowd a non-stop dancehall party, and we grabbed it with both hands.

Until next year…


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