An artist who very much does things on his own terms and with a dynamic prowess, as evidenced by his show, we caught Bakar at Electric Brixton earlier this month.
Bakar feels like a new breed of musician, unrestricted by genre with his unique blend of hip-hop meets punk that’s won the seal of approval from Skepta, Virgil Abloh and Elton John. Noting the likes of Dev Hynes and Bloc Party as influences, the London-based artist brought his own brand of musical anarchy to the Electric Brixton with a rockstar presence.
The sold-out crowd was youthful, an indicator of how Bakar has thrived through streaming services and through video platforms like COLORS. Over the course of the show, the throng of teens bounced between raucous mosh pits with tracks like ‘Big Dreams’ and subduedly swaying along to ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’ with Bakar himself acting as the initiator. To wrap things up? He did the typical punk move of climbing over speaker stands and attempting to crowd surf (he was dragged in though, and subsequently salvaged by security).
It was a high-energy performance throughout, with a tight backing band and sublime vocals, while the addition of noughties camcorder footage added to the Gen Z feel. Big hitters were ‘Dracula’, where Bakar was leaping up and down the stage, dressed in cargo trousers, Stussy t-shirt and beanie, while orchestrating the mosh pit. Singing with his signature London twang, ferocious pace and raw energy, he exclaimed, “Broken Britain is the land of defeat/ This country ain’t mine; I’ll never be free,” synonymous of old school punks like Sex Pistols, Bad Brains and The Clash, re-invented for the current day.
This then slipped into indie music territory, as the sway-along classic ‘Hell N Back,’ caressed with gentle whistling, chilled guitars and smooth serenading. Most recognisable for being the song Bakar had performed for his COLORS session, it immediately encouraged the crowd to chant along while phones were illuminated en masse.
With an unfettered drive, Bakar kept spirits high, yelling ‘Badkid’ frequently out to a sea of young, riled-up, adoring fans. Casually sifting through punk, indie and hip-hop influences, he is a clear signifier that in the age of internet streaming, interesting artists no longer conform to genre. It was a truly captivating performance from a performer on the cusp of stardom.