AMP Sounds Closing Party at Camden Roundhouse review
Ben Jolley headed to the capital to witness a massive line up that included Ghetts, Stefflon Don, Wretch 32, Not3s, Raye and more.
Last updated: 13th Mar 2018
Image: Annie Mac
The closing party of Annie Mac’s month-long AMP Sounds series was always going to be huge - thanks to its diverse, festival-sized line-up. But thanks to an appearance from unannounced special guest Sam Smith the night was made even more unforgettable...
Going out with a real bang at the Camden Roundhouse - having taken the reins of nearby KOKO for the previous three Fridays - a dozen artists and the 2800 capacity sold-out crowd helped raise £30,000 for the venue’s own Roundhouse Charity.
Boasting the biggest names in Afrobeats, grime, R&B, hip-hop and pop over the last six months it’s a perfect snapshot of Britain’s thriving music scene and, arguably, a more accurate representation of the country’s music taste than what was displayed at the BRIT Awards just a few days earlier.
With each performer allocated just 15 minutes stage time the audience is treated to an endless succession of chart hits; all killer, no filler, essentially.
After an early blip - the venue is evacuated just two songs into Ghetts’ set because someone smashed a fire alarm - Annie assures the crowd that everyone is safe before joking “I’d love to say it’s because Ghetts is too good and he shut the building down!”
If anything, it ups the anticipation and excitement because at one point it looked like no-one was being let back in. Wasting no time, grime don Ghetts bounces back onstage to perform ‘Know My Ting’ for which the packed crowd rap back every word while lighting up the massive venue with a sea of phones.
For the next 15 minutes the atmosphere switches to pop singalongs as Raye casually struts onstage to sing ‘Decline’ with the first of her two special guests, Mr Eazi, then Kojo Funds joins her on the Latin-flavoured ‘Check’. She has just enough time for a quick rendition of her biggest chart hit, the Jax Jones-collab ‘You Don’t Know Me’, as cannons shoot confetti over the crowd.
Seconds later, Mabel - who delivers the night’s most impressive vocals - arrives to perform her slick and sensual R&B hits ‘Finders Keepers’ and welcoming man of the moment Not3s for anthemic duets ‘Fine Line’ and ‘My Lover’, leaving the successor to J Hus’ throne to send the crowd crazy for his own infectious radio earworms ‘Addison Lee (Peng Ting Called Maddison)’ and ‘Aladdin’.
But it’s Stefflon Don who receives the best crowd reaction, quickly proving why she’s one of the country’s most exciting MCs. Arriving onstage with a troupe of twerking dancers, the rapper and singer isn’t messing around as she launches into the sexually-charged ‘Real Ting’, ‘16 Shots’ and French Montana-collab ‘Hurtin’ Me’, leaving no doubt that she’s going to be massive. There’s no-one else quite like her - in the U.K. or elsewhere...
For the final hour, the energy veers between pop and house music. First, surprise guest Olly Alexander completely transforms the atmosphere thanks to singalong renditions of ‘King’ and ‘Desire’ alongside two vocalists, reminding everyone that Years and Years have written some of the best pop songs of the last few years.
In a night that keeps on giving, it’s then time for the UK return of Disclosure, who go back-to-back with the night’s curator and Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac; mixing newer hits like Mella Dee’s ‘Techno Disco Tool’ with Stardust’s classic ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ into their own ‘When a Fire Starts To Burn’.
But the biggest surprise of all is saved until near the end as the familiar vocal of ‘Latch’ rings around the massive venue and Sam Smith steps onstage for an extremely rare performance of their 2012 collaboration, certifying that Saturday nights don’t get much better than when Annie Mac is in charge of proceedings.