The only people who were left disappointed at So Solid’s reunion tour which took place at the IndigO2 in Greenwich last week, were the police force who were out in their droves for what reason I don’t know (maybe they were expecting, gangs, grenades, guns – who knows). But what actually took place was a night of great vibes, unity, boundless energy and a trip down memory lane reminding us of a time when we were pre mortgage, pre kids, pre responsible jobs , and life was a whole lot more simpler.
Arriving the earliest I’ve ever arrived at a concert due to my mate Yinka from Vex In The City’s punctuality, we got there to find a half full venue where a female DJ was spinning a selection of the US hip hop music which I believe is the inspiration behind Beyonce’s shrill, discombobulated diss track which had the internet in a whirl this week. I don’t really get this particular genre of music so was mind-numbingly bored for the hour and a half that she was on stage for. Next, DJ Oxide from Oxide and Neutrino (remember them?) thankfully took things up a few hundred notches by playing a selection of UK Garage bangers, taking us all back to Colleseum, Hanover Grand, Silk City, or whichever club you got your garage fix from back in the late nineties/early noughties.
Arriving onstage shortly after nine pm, the show opened with the classic ‘Oh No (Sentimental Things)’ with Romeo and Lisa Maffia both looking resplendent – Romeo decked out in a pristine white suit looking like a young Cool Ruler, while Lisa (who hasn’t aged one bit) dazzled in a fitted sparkly black mini dress. From that moment, it was on. The show ran like a well orchestrated soul revue with various members coming out to perform tracks from So Solid’s seminal album They Don’t Know – as well as their solo ventures. Highlights included a heartfelt rendition of the street ballad ‘Cry’ performed by group member, Swiss. JD (Dready) injecting a little dancehall flavour by bringing out Chipmunk to perform ‘Every Gyal’ the track recorded with Movado. The female dancers (who I believe are known as the CEO Dancers) performing a dope Afrobeats inspired piece to the instrumental Dilemma. And of course, 21 Seconds, which they closed the show with, was a firecracker as expected and proved once and for all that Romeo’s 21 seconds was the best. But for me the sweetest moment was the cameo appearance of Ms Dynamite who literally caused the venue to shake when she exploded on stage to perform her verse on the track Envy. Talk about living up to your moniker. Girrrl, please make a non-singing comeback.
I still haven’t even fully processed my thoughts on why this concert was such a pivotal moment for Black British music. I think it’s because Black Brits performing music that’s authentic to them and not some watered down version to appease mainstream audiences, are never really given the star treatment. But make no mistake about it – So Solid received a reception befitting of any US superstar(s) be it Nas, Jay Z or whomever. The collective are due to perform a few more dates across the country, and where they go from here is anyone’s guess. Whatever they decide to do, I’m hoping the future generation of Team UK’ers will be inspired by what happened on Thursday night.