LIVE REVIEW: Baney Boy in Brixton
Photos: David Franco
2018 was a year of successive wins for Yxng Bane. The 22-year-old east London native made a sturdy discographic entrance with HBK, following a string of charting features with other acts along the afroswing-rap spectrum. A Golden Boy by association on Kojo Funds’ preceding album, the man behind the figure has emerged as a confident, suave one. Tweeting that his only 2019 show would be this exact March one, it was curiosity and anticipation that drew me to see him live. He makes a name for himself styled the cheeky persona of a guy everyone likes, including Nicki Minaj, who brought him out for her self-titled Nicki Wrld Tour just the week earlier. Friday night showed that the charm he poised with the American star is something he carries in his back pocket for fans alike.
Thrumming bass travels well through the external walls of Brixton O2 exemplified the barely contained excitement inside, but no matter how great an artist is, venue inefficiencies always prevent efficient entrance for both fans and press. Cordoned in a side street, entrance was consistently fettered by ineffective security staff and management who couldn’t differentiate between guestlists, blaggers and press. With capacity verging on 5000, it was packed to the ceilings with swaying bodies inside. Although larger venues tend to feel less intimate, Bane did his best to counter this. Veering between saucy crowd pleasers and straight greaze, he was able to confidently play the crowd, coaxing intimate gatherings and mosh pits back to back. Chatty dialogue between each performance teased (mainly the ladies) and set his persona up as an undoubtable sweeterman. Screams followed him across the stage which was well set up with a trio of digitalised backing panels constantly changing hue.
Launching into sounds from HBK following a respectful moment of silence for those passed away close to him, crowd interaction plateaued slightly before Kojo Funds made an appearance. The duo appeared under plumes of smoke, Kojo’s deep voice unlocking an energy strum across both the top and bottom decks. Following up with the iconic chart banger that is Rihanna, the duo was able to balance soft tones with rougher ones as to not tire those of us standing out too much.
Framing each guest appearance as not only being that of artists he’s been fortunate to collaborate with, Bane made a point of identifying each guest as family before anything else. Headie One’s entrance was the most unexpected, the two effortlessly bounced off each other as This Week blared, the crowd ending the Tottenham native’s ‘wah’ adlibs with a magnetism that showed they were able to give as much love to each guest as to the star himself. Yungen’s Bestie followed more screams, the two ending the song with a strong hug. Bane’s ability to personally connect with each of his guests created a comfortable air of familiarity, despite the sheer numbers of people in the room.
Bangers in successive rotation meant there was nowhere to disappear to for small toilet breaks throughout the night, however the reception for his rapping singles was better than the softer, singing tunes. By comparison, Ella Eyre’s reception for Answerphone received a embrace from completely different sections of the crowd than to others. It become evident that different people came to see different sides of Yxng Bane; the charting favourite and the fluent rapper emerged as the two dominant personas on display.
Bane’s versatility and upwards trajectory made him able to not only gather the numbers to pack out a venue of ambitious size, but to fill it with crowds of entirely different cloths that were able to disregard their differences completely, an accomplishment only few can achieve.