IAMDV8 FESTIVAL: ANGEL & SPECIAL GUESTS FLY HIGH @ STRATFORD CIRCUS, JULY 4TH
IAMDV8 is a collaborative festival that brings together the best creative talent from across DV8 Training. The organisation is renown for offering exceptional education and apprenticeship opportunities in the creative industries, but on Thursday, July 4th the events team invited the public to Stratford Circus to witness the talent they had been nurturing for the past year.
Those who attended the sold out show were treated to a spectacular night of music, performance and youth creativity. Throughout the evening, the students and tutors behind the IAMDV8 festival often referred to themselves as ‘a family’. The collective of extremely talented individuals showed real passion and motivation, putting on an entertaining show that demonstrated exactly why the bond between them was so strong.
The festival kicked off at 5pm in Circus 2, with an Open Mic competition and the One Agenda youth showcase. DV8 student Tyler took on competitors to snatch the open mic title and R&B rising star J-Sol serenaded the Priory Court dancers, performers and fashionistas for the youth showcase closing performance. The scene was now set for the main event: audience members sipped drinks in the summer heat, others checked out the market stalls in the foyer, while eager fans queued to enter the main arena.
The Circus 1 showcase began shortly after 8pm with the IAMDV8 band and backing singers performing their own take on the famous gospel song, ‘This Little Light of Mine’. With powerful visuals on the screen and a burst of controlled pyrotechnic explosions from the front of the stage, the impressive intro set proceedings off with a bang. The loud roar that erupted from the auditorium clearly showed the audience’s approval. All that was left was for hosts Eugene and Lilianna to guide the audience on a highly anticipated journey through the various talents that were to be showcased. Below are a few of the highlights from an amazing night of entertainment:
Shade was a female poet who spoke with clarity and conviction. Her poem ‘This Is For The People’ gripped the audience. Even when she mixed up a few words she received a huge reception, enticing her to start again. The second run through found the audience in silence, listening to the intricacy of her wordplay. The passion in Shade’s voice made it evident that this was personal to her and had come from the heart. Upon completion of her poem, Shade was given a standing ovation. Such a talented individual touched the hearts and souls of everyone in the room with her words. Personally, I could relate to every word she was saying and her final words of motivation were truly inspiring.
> IAMDV8 IS DOWN WITH THE KING
King Thrilla instantly had the crowd’s full attention; prior to his performance he had showcased his other talents on the drum set. Thrilla was exceptionally entertaining; not only was he a talented rapper but his body language and connection with the crowd enhanced his performance even further. Once the nerves had settled he began to dance and bop. His clever lyrics and charismatic persona made many smile. The FusionTV graduate and able lyricist proved himself a born performer. Teaming up with fellow FusionTV student, Milky, for the closing song, King Thrilla raised the energy levels further with the infectious club banger, ‘Bout Me’.
Adeena was another young woman that was very passionate about her area of creativity. Adeena showcased her interpretive dance talent to Sia’s ‘Breath Me’. Throughout the dance her movements flowed through to the next and she displayed her flexibility and gymnastic ability all in perfect timing with the music. Her body language and facial expressions really defined what dancing meant to her and with the fluidity to match she put on an enthralling performance.
> THE GOODS DELIVER IN FINE STYLE
The Goods are a group of four guys of which three of them are rappers and one is a singer. They performed two songs and were crowd pleasers throughout. The group complemented each other and they produced music with flair, finesse and vibes to captivate the audience. By the end of their set, many were dancing and even singing along to the memorable chorus. Even I found myself singing the words of one of their songs all the way home.
> GIOVANNA JANE SHOWS HER FULL POTENTIAL
Giovanna Jane performed an acoustic piece with her own guitarist. She was very professional when addressing the audience and followed through with an outstanding vocal performance. The song ‘Take Me Down’ was fun yet solemn enough to really showcase her talent and potential. Giovanna ended with a real showcase of her voice hitting huge notes whilst maintaining masterful control. The reaction to this was superb and she proved to the audience she is going to be one to watch with high aspirations and great potential.
Music Potential favourite Marley was spectacular. His song ‘Summertime’ had just the right vibes and feel good energy to get everyone moving. Pushing his voice from his own comfort zone to reach those higher notes, he showcased a range most male artists would envy. Marley is extremely talented and after the applause he received on the night, may only just now be grasping the power of his own potential. Definitely one to look out for in the future, should he continues to showcase his unique old skool take on R&B he could recapture the glory that has arguably been missing in UK R&B since the likes of Craig David broke through.
> FiO REPS THE REAL
Other acts went all out and left an indelible mark on the audience. Oxford-born B-boy FiO moved the masses with a hi-octane performance that fused conscious lyricism, club beats and crowd-friendly choruses, to great effect. Innovat8tionbacking vocalist and SoundSkool superstar Keliah stepped into the spotlight to rock the fashion show in fine style. As the band fired up the groove to Christine Aguilera’s ‘Ain’t No Other Man’, the pint-sized performer with the big voice strut her stuff like a young Tina Turn to deliver a show-stealing performance.
DV8 alumni Woodzy put in a quality performance with the sublime ‘Morning Rainfall’ and a rabble-rousing rendition of ‘Snakes & Ladders’, alongside his guitarist and the DV8 band. Fellow lyricist Scarz also hyped up the crowd, whileTyler spazzed out over Pusha T’s ‘Millions’ to prove why he was crowned ‘open mic champ’ earlier in the evening.
> ANGEL DROPS FLY VOCALS ON THE STRATFORD CICRUS STAGE
By the time Angel stepped on stage, the audience was ready for the R&B superstar to take it home. Performing with passion and panache, the talented singer songwriter worked the stage like a true pro and delivered a polished headline set to impress die-hard screaming fans and newbies alike.
> FUSION CATCHES JOKES WITH FUSION TV STUDENTS MARTIN & PERDO
The obligatory MIP speeches followed as Fusion marched out his troop of event managers to rapturous applause. Having led the events programme for DV8 Training for the last seven years, the speeches from students and staff were particularly emotional, as they marked the end of an era of Eastside Stories / IAMDV8 shows which had featured legends the likes of Wretch 32, Ghetts, Shola Ama, Gigs, Bashy, Chip, Kele Le Roc and Devlin.
The responsibility to wrap up the evening was left in the capable hands of UK garage star and DV8 tutor Jacqui Bennett who transported Stratford Circus back to the mid 90s with a masterful rendition of her Tuff Jam hit ‘Experience’. As the final pyrotechnics rocketed towards the upper echelons of the arena, the band, BVs and IAMDV8 staff returned to the stage for a final sing-a-long and the audience was treated to a fitting finale to what had been an amazing evening of IAMDV8 entertainment.
Words: Jacob Ellington & iitsFusion
Twitter: @ellingtonjake / @iitsFusion
Photos: Tariq Daley