Rejjie Snow at The Junction: Review

Image credit: Joe Hilton

Upon arriving at Junction - the stronghold of Cambridge’s it’s-not-actually-that-bad nightlife - to see Rejjie Snow, I immediately felt something was very, very wrong. Pushing through the sticky double doors to the main room, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a sea of crop tops, camo trousers and Carhartt logos. Despite shaving only hours before I probably had more facial hair than most of the room. It’s a funny experience feeling old at nineteen, one I’m not particularly accustomed to. And yet, it suddenly appeared that having taken my GCSEs a few years ago now, I was no longer in the right place.

As the lights dimmed and a figure stepped out onto the stage, a wave of excitement settled the crowd. “OMG it’s him, it’s Rejjie snow” shouted the girl beside me, at the DJ who had come on stage to prepare the sound deck. After a 10 minute ‘hype up’ of chart hip-hop and UK grime, regularly accentuated with shouts of “Make some noise for Rejjie Snow - make some noise for yourselves”, the 24-year old finally waltzed on stage to the spiraling melodies of Hello.

After the release of debut album Dear Annie - a genre-spanning opus of 20 tracks, which features production from Kaytranada and Kendrick Lamar, Rejjie exudes a new found confidence and charm on stage. Born Alexander Anyaegbunam in Dublin to a Nigerian father and Irish-Jamaican mother, his thick Irish accent is only somewhat hidden by his newly adopted transatlantic drawl. His recent success is both impressive and surprising given that he grew up the only black kid on Dublin’s Northside, where there is no hip-hop scene to speak of.  

As well as performing new tracks such as Egyptian Luvr and 23, he also played many classics to the elation of his enraptured audience. Rejjie gave a charged rendition of All Around the World (a personal favourite) and the throbbing bassline of Blakkst Skn stirred up the voracious crowd into a mosh pit (despite the lack of any drop, which eventually led to a lot of confusion amongst the 14 year olds). 1992 also elicited an enthusiastic response, although it appeared that Loyle Carner’s verse was perhaps better known than Snow’s himself. Nonetheless, there was certainly a vibrant atmosphere encapsulating The Junction - even if it did manifest itself in a mosh pit that resulted in me losing half of my drink.

However, the gig was lacking in parts. Often the tracks would cut untimely to the next - probably an attempt to include as many songs as possible - and the set ended very abruptly. Snow left the stage, and there followed a brief performance of what can only be described as a medley of popular rap music. I didn’t need to hear Man’s Not Hot, but it wasn’t totally out of place with the evening as a whole: if anything, it contributed to my overall feeling that I had been transported a few years back in time.

I did hear one girl tell her friend that Rejjie Snow was ‘so fit she wanted to cry’, which possibly made me question what really appeals about him as a musician, but ultimately there was an undeniable spirit of fun present in the room, which must be credited to Rejjie. The concert finished at 10:30 and I left the venue beer-infused, sweaty and smiling.

 

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