On the 6th of January the beloved Forum Theatre welcomed in thousands of excited faces, eagerly awaiting for Aminé to hit the stage. Advancing into the foyer like an army of loyal troops, it was clear that Aminé fanbase was strong- united in their love for his intoxicating presence, and quirky persona. There was, however, one fan who was quite new to the scene, and uncertain of what to expect. This fan was me. I knew of Aminé, and of course was familiar with Caroline, the song that catapulted him to commercial recognition. However, it is safe to say, that my musical pallet surrounding alternative hip hop and rap was…rather dry. So, as I entered the Forum and took my spot amongst the buzzing crowd, I hoped and prayed that I might leave the show a little quenched.
And boy did I.
Starting off the night, Dj Classic warmed up the crowd with a classic game of call and response. Within a few minutes, strangers were acting like best mates, and it was clear that this pre show entertainment was there to lay the ground rules for the night: go wild, dance, but do it all as one. Following Dj Classic, B Wise took to the stage. I was majorly impressed with his ability to take the audience’s growing energy, and send it into the stratosphere. With songs like Who?! and Won’t Stop, B Wise demonstrated his slick lyrics and insatiable beats with incredible prowess; all the while maintaining a sense of gratitude and connection with his audience. With his concerted effort to look directly at his crowd, and his constant reminder to befriend and look after one another, B Wise felt like an artist at the top of his game, as well as a close and trusted friend. My favourite moment was when he took a moment to acknowledge his Nigerian roots before performing Ezzina, a song that oozed funk, heart, and soul. Side note: I still can’t get that guitar riff out of my head!
By this point in the night, the crowd of newly formed friends were as prepped as they could be for Aminé‘s entrance. So, when that moment came, and aminé danced his way onto the stage, the wild cheers was exactly what I was expecting. Kick starting his set with Mad Funny Freestyle, Aminé’s kooky lyrics and hilarious wordplay were accompanied by spectacular visuals that were as creative and dynamic as his rapping. Between Aminé‘s commitment to jumping around the stage, and the backdrop of neon coloured lights that featured garish yellows and hot pinks, it felt like we were witnessing the inside of Aminé‘s brain: an explosion of absurdity and playfulness. From start to finish, the Forum stage transported itself into a visual exploration of Aminé‘s creative genius; one where we got to witness his bouncy melodies, giddy synth, and hyper pop influence come to life.
It’s one thing to bop along to Charmander in the car. It’s another thing to experience it in a sold out venue, where it’s infectious energy and fast paced flow had me feeling so carefree that I almost felt weightless. What I also loved about Aminé‘s was the variety in his performance. Just when you thought the night might become one dizzying mosh, he’d bring us back down to earth with performances like shine that highlighted his slower melodies and more delicate, vulnerable vocals. I was particularly impressed with his falsetto in Shine and the smooth, glitzy guitar in the background. Aminé‘s musical confidence really showed itself through his ability to hook the crowd. Whether it was through a sugar rush state of energy, or a more reflective, down to earth moment, the crowd was there to drink in every moment and savor every minute. Finishing off the night with a consecutive performance of Spice girl, Caroline, and Reel It In, these three crowd pleaser songs provided a climactic high point that left the audience in a state of total appreciation and bliss. I left the Forum feeling more connected to hip hop and rap than ever before, and I have Aminé and his generous fans to thank for that. All in all, it was certainly a night well spent, and I cannot wait to see what craziness Aminé conjures up next.