Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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South Facing Fest: Dizzee Rascal, Ghetts, Alicai Harley, Flohio... @Crystal Palace, London 14/8/21

Dizzee Rascal: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW
Dizzee Rascal: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Ghetts: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Alicai Harley: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Dreya Mac: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Dreya Mac: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Alicai Harley: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Ghetts: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Dizzee Rascal: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Flohio: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Flohio: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Dizzee Rascal: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Ghetts: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Ghetts: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Alicai Harley: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Flohio: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Ghetts: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW Dizzee Rascal: South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW South Facing Festival @Crystal Palace Bowl, London 14/8/21 REVIEW

Following the two excellent Cross The Tracks shows the previous weekend, it was great to have another chance to get back to the Crystal Palace Bowl. The venue has hosted some incredible names over the years, and this summer's South Facing Festival is a springboard that will hopefully secure its future as a place to watch shows for many years to come. This latest outing is headlined by grime pioneer Dizzee Rascal performing with The Outlook, with plenty of talent across the bill.

First up on the floating stage is Dreya Mac. In a very short space of time, she's established herself as one of the top up-and-coming rappers in the capital, and she showed off her impressive flow to the early crowd in bright sunshine. "Skippin" was one of last year's big breakthrough records, and she brought the energy to the Crystal Palace stage, winning over new fans as she did so.

Another big name gracing the stage was UK dancehall star Alicai Harley, whose "The Red Room Intro" album has been essential lockdown listening. "Put It On You" and "No Rampin" showed she means business and both tracks were rewarded with a huge show of energy from the audience.

Another excellent female rapper followed her onto the stage in the form of Flohio. "Unveiled" from last year's "No Panic, No Pain" album was a mood setter as she confidently bounded across the stage. Flohio is definitely an artist to keep an eye on, and her set showed why there's so much excitement around her.

For the second time in a week, Ghetts delivered a triumphant performance on the Crystal Palace stage, having given a standout performance at the Cross The Tracks show the previous weekend.
It's been a massive year for the East Londoner, with "Conflict of Interest" firmly establishing him among the biggest draws on the UK scene. His set started, as the album does, with "Fine Wine", setting the pace for another top performance. I've seen Ghetts several times over the years and it's been great seeing how he's grown in that time. He's a commanding stage presence who held the audience throughout, and gave the headliner a hard act to follow.

There had been questions in the build-up whether Dizzee Rascal would still perform, in light of his charge for assault, which was still ongoing as the festival got underway. But go ahead it did and accompanied by the excellent musicianship of The Outlook Orchestra, the 36-year-old performed hit after hit, opening with a raucous version of "Jus A Rascal".

For many, this was their first show back since lockdown brought live music to a standstill, and they were certainly there to enjoy it. Dizzee Rascal has no shortage of dancefloor fillers and used them to good effect. By the time "Bonkers" was over it was surprising anyone in the crowd has the energy to get home.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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