British grime MC Shao Dow performed a sold-out show at London’s 229 venue on Wednesday.
With dogged determination, he has steadily built a following for his high-energy grime, which is frequently inspired by, and about, anime, gaming and East Asian culture.
The crowd were jubilant: bouncing, whooping and reciting the lyrics to Dow’s songs, some of which are inspired by the likes of anime series, such as Attack on Titan (‘Levi Mode’) and My Hero Academia.
While some subject matters or references may go over your head, Dow’s delivery connects with the solid consistency of a martial artist. Songs such as ‘#Dropkickman’ and ‘Nani’ ricochet off the walls with chest-thumping bravado, and it’s easy to chant along to them.
DJ T‑Russ kept things moving with Shao Dow’s combative trap songs (‘Cursey’) as well as the afrobeat-tinged ‘Wait for the Summer’.
The overwhelming mood that night was one of celebration. The audience were here for all of it: the supporting artists, the DJ’s old-school set and the impromptu breakdancing battle that ensued during the interval, and Dow’s testosterone-fuelled performance.
Dow thanked the crowd for embracing his music, and the music of his fellow MCs. He’s an affable presence and well worth seeing if you fancy a different shade of UK hip hop.
Shao Dow was supported by Rustage, Shwabadi, and Connor Quest!, who have also made names for themselves in the nerdcore community. They have been making their own live debut on Dow’s current tour.
Shao Dow’s Enter the Shao Dojo tour continues through the autumn. See Shao Dow’s website for tickets.
Photos by Aaron Lee
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