Monday nights at the Southbank Centre aren't usually like this
Someone’s smoking weed in the Royal Festival Hall. Next week Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 we’ll be performed here, but right now someone is smoking weed, people are dancing on chairs and the DJ just reloaded ‘3 Wheel-ups’ because Giggs has turned the place into a festival tent.
Meltdown Festival is an annual event at the Southbank, curated each year by a different artist. Previous iterations have been organised by Massive Attack, David Bowie and Yoko Ono, and the Meltdown 2017 is in the hands of MIA, who appears to be using the opportunity to bring outsiders and the unexpected to the fore.
Young Fathers kicked off proceedings last Friday, Julian Assange appeared via video link over the weekend and Yung Lean, Young M.A., Mykki Blanco and Princess Nokia are all to come. This is also why on a June Monday evening, Giggs, a rapper who for years was banned from performing in London and had tours cancelled by the police, was preparing to take to the stage in one of the UK’s centres of high culture.
Lisa Mercedes started the night, never letting her energy dip despite the many empty seats. Tracks like ‘Badness’ and ‘Back It Up’, plus a cameo from frequent collaborator Stylo G, showed why she’s so hotly tipped as she engaged the crowd with an undeniable charisma. Her dancehall choreography was also electric. I doubt The Royal Festival Hall has ever seen moves like that and it’ll likely be a long time before it sees them again.