Thursday night at The Great Escape festival well and truly belonged to XL Records. Taking up a residency at Coalition, the seafront sweat-pit accommodated the lucky ones capable of getting in to see what the upcoming artists on the UK independent label had to offer.
Amongst the rising stars of the night was 20 year old Shamir. Born and raised in North Las Vegas, the wet stoned walls of Brighton’s busy night club are a long way from home for the young pop sensation. His presence however proved he could make any stage his home. Beginning with Vegas, Shamir tells us of his home city, his soft vocals riding above the throb of the bass synth. “The city’s alright, at least at night” repeats Shamir as the track fades, echoing his experience of growing up in one of the world’s most notorious party capitals.
“So.. I wrote this song as a joke,” Shamir giggles before beginning On The Regular. The playful, house-infused disco beat becomes the backdrop to Shamir’s colourful personality, displaying a unique style of modern pop capable of getting a whole crowd bopping along. On stage, Shamir’s eyes dart around the room, his whole body moving along to his contagious beats, he’s thriving off the crowd’s energy.
The energy dissipates as Shamir begins Darker. Offering his hands out to the front row for support, he lifts himself on to the barrier to perch amongst the crowd, beginning the slow, stripped down number. His playful, chirpy voice transforms into a soulful and emotive tone, stunning the audience as his vocals reach all corners of the room and deep within the souls of the onlooking crowd.
The dizzying synth line of Head In The Clouds brings Shamir’s excellent set to a close. While the synths continue to whirl around the room, Shamir spends the last part of the song in the crowd himself, moving through and hugging anyone in his path. Somewhere within the crowd he finds Lapsley and excitedly pulls in his fellow XL member for a hug before moving further on as the music fades.
By the end of the night everyone in Coalition felt like they had a new friend. Shamir’s unique presence captures people, combined with his addictive new pop/electronic style it is guaranteed that the young musician will continue to move audiences one way or another as his career progresses.
In For The Kill
On The Regular
Call it off
Head in the clouds
By Ollie Didwell