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If you have been fortunate enough to have attended some Grime Concerts, it is only fair to say that you have experienced a live show like no other. The energy alone can create enough static to power the equipment (not literally). Grime Artists tend to get the fans hyped by reloading their verses and jumping around on stage and most importantly, Grime concerts usually bring out a particular crowd that shows a loyalty and energy similar to those at punk concerts; in other words, things are bound to wild.
To define Grime concerts, we first must break down the scene and look at all of the categories of performances that come together to form the live shows. Grime concerts can consist of several key cultural contributors; Raves, Grime Sets, Clashes and Festivals. Not to say that each one of these live shows are considered concerts, but together these performances contribute to the blend of Grime culture and play a role in the concert atmosphere and needless to say, are crucial elements in building the history of Grime.
Raves in England are not particular to Grime, but revolve around electronic music. Electronic raves being around since the late 80s have played a large role in the electronic music revolution. The rebellious squat parties (which is a form of raving) are in long story short, illegal temporary spots to party, wether in warehouses, abandon sites or outdoors in random areas, these spots serve as great venues for raves. Raves may also be held in club like venues under legal licenses with big promotors and advertisements to support the shows, although most raves tend to be illegal and held outside or in unlicensed areas
Raves are not necessarily limited to a number of occupants, where small raves like squat parties can hold under 100 people (to keep the noise at a minimal so local authorities are not notified) some mainstream raves have been known to hold from 500 - 150,000+ people, these are usually festivals raves. Raves tend to last into the morning, sometimes beginning late in the evening. This is the case since most of the illegal raves can not be held while the public is out and about, so the late-early morning time is the best period to hold the events
Raves involve Djs (usually several), sound equipment, live Emcee and Grime Crew sets, dancing, partying, some times drugs (MDMA, Ecstasy, LSD and more), sex and alcohol. As part of the UK underground scene, raves have built a communal bond that is for the most part a positive gathering of different crowds, dressing wild and partying freely. At raves music can vary from Trance, Drum N Bass, House, Grime, Jungle, Breakbeat, Ambient and many more genres and can also include: trippy strobe lights, glow sticks, projected images and smoke machines that all come together to simulate a psychedelic setting.
As a crucial aspect of Grime culture, The rave culture has contributed one of the most important factors in the growth of Grime music; the audience. In other words, raves are essentially concerts without the definitive structure, raves are more personal and provide more of a party atmosphere opposed to a specific outline, although many raves do have artist and DJ line ups and planned event criteria. Raves are important because they represent breaking away from tradition, a sort of freedom that is not always offered at clubs or venues and in comparison to Grime, the music itself does the same.
Some popular Grime Raves include: Eskimo Dance, Outlook Festival, Strawberries & Creem and many more.
Grime sets are similar to any set in Hip Hop or other genres in the sense that they include an artist spitting on stage, often in front of an audience. However, Grime sets are not always performed for a crowd, many Grime crews and Grime emcees spit on the mic in small rooms in front of cameras for promotion. Most importantly in the early years of Grime, sets were spit on Grime Radio Stations, mostly pirate radio. Grime sets also go down in the cypher format as well, wether on stage, in front of a camera or just with friends spitting bars. In the early days of Grime, as the genre was still in the midst of forming itself, Grime emcees would cram themselves into small confined spaces, packed wall to wall and play new beats where emcees would cypher on sets and clash each other. One of the most famous Grime sets is the "Live at Sidewinder - Bonfire Bonanza 2002", that features top Grime Emcees of the time. Some popular media platforms that air Grime sets are: Rinse FM, The Boiler Room, De Ja Vu FM, BRMG (The Den), BBC 1 Xtra (#GimmieGrime, #SixtyMinutesLive) Risky Roads and KISS FM.
Here are some popular media platforms that support Grime Sets:
Closely related to Grime concerts are Grime clashes, which is basically a battle rap between Grime Artists or Grime crews that consists of disses going back and fourth and reloading verses to build up the energy. A popular Grime clash is the infamous Skepta VS Devilman clash, that was filmed as a segment on "Lord of the Mics", which is UKs most popular Clash Platform. LOTM (Lord Of The Mics) supports and broadcasts emcees who choose to send for one another. In this old school clash between Londons top emcee "Skepta" and the best Birmingham emcee "Devilman", the two would spit bars at each other, taking pieces of the opponents lyrics and twisting them to diss each other with it. This classic Clash would go down in history as one of the top Clashes next to Wiley VS Kano and forever change the approach to the art of Clashing.
Here are some Media platforms that promote Grime Clashes:
Festivals provide a platform that can embody all of the above categories of Grime concerts. Many UK festivals have a rave atmosphere and most Grime concerts do as well. Although most Grime clashes are held in smaller venues, where the art of battling is focused on more than the music its self, a good example of clashing on a festival level is the "Red Bull Culture Clash". At this well known event, several crews and collectives clash off with a "toasting" like mic presence, performing mini sets, as well as remix's of recent and old Electronic/Grime songs that are aimed at the other crews.
Other Festivals include the strictly Grime Eskimo Dance Festival. Of all of the UK festivals, Eskimo Dance leads the way with Grime features. The festival promotes the the best in Grime music, all in a wall to wall packed venue with a rave atmosphere, jam packed with reloads, classic Grime Beats and the top Grime Artists.
Other Festivals that include Grime are:
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