Bakar – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton – 29th September 2018

Photo by Liam McMillen

Often an artist comes around that so wildly captivates the hearts and minds of teenagers, that it’s wildly impressive in its own right. Camden Town’s Bakar is one such artist who sold-out his Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar show instantly and, at said show, sent his dedicated following into hysteria. However, when it comes to Bakar, the mass euphoria is entirely deserved as his superb fusion of math-rock, indie-rock and hip-hop is an electrifying prospect and one that, quite literally, almost broke Sticky Mike’s.

Opening on the buzz-heavy night was London rapper Master Peace, who whipped the already excitable crowd into a frenzy. With a sound on record that is a little more chilled, his live show is an entirely different beast. Loud, fiery, and outrageously in your face, it’s exciting, rebellious and a whole load of fun. Backed by two other rappers, the likes of ‘Buck’ and ‘Faces’ already sounded like instant classics and, much like his contemporary Denzel Himself, it won’t be long until it explodes out of the scene.

With a voice-over hyping up the crowd and announcing his arrival on stage, Bakar’s appearance and subsequent performance had the glitz and glamour you don’t often see in small venues. With an adoring audience screaming along to every word, Bakar looked and sounded like the real deal. With hits such as the exotic ‘Ctrl Alt Del’ and the slow-burning ‘Small Town Girl’ too, he’s got the songs to back up the hype.

Importantly, there’s a diversity to Bakar’s genre fusion that combines some of the finest youth musical movements of recent years. From the math-rock of the likes of Foals and Everything Everything, and the speak-singing indie of Jamie T, along with the nasty hip-hop rap style brought to fruition by Tyler, the Creator and Denzel Curry, it’s no surprise that Bakar has won over such a dedicated following. Importantly, though, there’s enough to keep it original and unique, and wildly out there at times.

There’s a provocative and social conscience to Bakar that makes him entirely relatable. “If the government calls, put my dick in their mouth / ‘Cause I’m back at my mum’s, I can’t even move out” he sings early on in his set on ‘One Way’, which receives applause and rapturous screams amongst the crowd. Young and vibrant, with the political nouse and bravery to say exactly what he thinks, Bakar came across as a voice for this generation – and at such a young age, that’s mightily impressive.

Bakar has said that he wants to be, “A voice for the alternative. For the kids that what to do what they want. No restrictions”. On this evidence, that’s exactly what he’s done. Important to adolescents without watering down his music, Bakar is a rebellious voice in music right now and one that has a challenging and disturbing nature. Ultimately, this was entirely refreshing and a truly great night to many, many people.

Liam McMillen