Cork city faced the collision of genres in Cyprus Avenue as the lyrics of hip-hop artists Jafaris, Kestine and Roman XCV were aided by producer Nxstalgic, singer Andy Killian and the rock band Small Talk Radio to make a big statement of intent.
Killian kicked off the night and his soulful voice and guitar playing catches many people’s attention easily. His confidence grows throughout the show as he starts adding licks and riffs to an already varied set. Next up was Roman XCV, AKA The Lonely Choir, who along with Cork producer Young Phantom added a calm vibe to proceedings with a mesh of Rap and R&B and crowd interaction that many would die for.
One of the early highlights however was Kestine, a young rapper who added an unending amount of energy and enthusiasm to his performance. With a solid rhyming pattern, bass heavy and danceable production (once again by Young Phantom) he started by playing trap-style music but very quickly morphed into anthemic, pound-your-fist rhythms. Young Phantom joined him for many songs before doing his own impressive set, which included a Cantonese singer and a dazzling light show that was something to witness in such a small venue.
Small Talk Radio were next. The three piece made of guitar, drums and bass are instrumentally and musically gifted and their songwriting prowess was clear for all to see. It wasn’t until Jafaris, a Dublin rapper, however that the party really started. With the use of his live band, the energy of the room was brought to another level. The fact that that hardly any electronics were used only added to the experience. Jafaris had the audience in the palm of his hand and with a voice like his and his undeniable talent there was no way that it wasn’t going to be a memorable performance. With reggae, rap and soul all part of an eclectic set it was Jafaris who really stole the show in many regards.
Cork producer Nxstalgic was given the tough job of following up from Jafaris but he handled it bravely, putting on a visual show that added a dynamic that hadn’t been seen before in the evening. Despite technical difficulties caused by a wandering sound engineer Nxstalgic proved why his songs were such a hit on Soundcloud and gave a performance far beyond his years that was unfortunately blighted by elements beyond his control.
Cork has always been the home of numerous musical talents and Cyprus Avenue has paved the way for the new generation to follow in the steps of those before them. There is no doubt that as the audience left the venue last night that they were given a glimpse into the future, and on the back of last night, there’s no doubt that this future is shining brighter than many people ever realize.