Kamakaze, The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham - review and backstage chat on balancing music and Luton FC career
Leicester-based MC Kamakaze walks and talks with a confident swagger that seems far too natural at his young age.
Yet with countless EPs and singles to his name, a successful footballing career and a UK tour on the go, it’s understandable why he carries himself in such a fashion.
From mornings on the pitch to evenings in the pits, the hungry artist is keen to make his name more widely recognised across the UK, and it’s performances such as last night's in Birmingham which will help him accomplish that.
Performing at Birmingham's Sunflower Lounge on a gorgeous summer night alongside his friends and colleagues, Kamakaze tore the roof off the boiling basement venue.
With fellow musicians Wax MTP, Massappeals, and Nottingham’s Izzie Gibbs as his special guest, the evening certainly felt like a Midland family affair with talent from across the region performing at their very best.
Beginning the night by working through his latest album, Facts not Fiction, the East Midlands artist had some pleasant surprises up his sleeve.
Blending new tracks with hits from his previous releases, freestyles from his many online videos, and even some new music from his upcoming projects, Kamakaze demonstrated exactly why he is making waves on the grime scene.
The Luton Town midfielder took the time to speak with us before the show, reflecting on his efforts to balance his two careers, the successes he’s experienced this year and what it’s all meant to him.
“The whole balancing part you learn with time,” the 24-year-old star said.
"This tour’s come about in off-season so it’s not much of a problem, but in the past I’ve had to turn down shows for good money. It’s just part and parcel of my job."
Talking about his opportunity to push himself and challenge his musical creativity alongside his peers, Kamakaze said the upside to his success is that he gets to share it with his friends.
“It’s an important part for me because they’ve been there since the days when no one was listening," he added.
"And now to see that we can tour five cities across the country and to have fans in all those places is a really nice feeling."
As well as performing alongside his pals, Kamakaze has also surprised audiences with special guest performances while on tour.
He treated hometown fans to an appearance from P Money and a shock visit from Northampton’s Izzie Gibbs at the Birmingham concert.
"Bringing out P Money at the Leicester show was a big moment," said the grime artist.
"Funnily enough, I have a picture on my Facebook of him playing a show from 2010 in Leicester and I’m in the background being a fan boy.
"So for him now to show love and come out for my show was massive; especially as someone who is nationally recognised and a true legend of the game.”
If you get a chance to catch Kamakaze at any of the remaining stops on his UK tour, you should definitely do so.
You’ll be in for a night of high-energy, quality lyricism with a feel-good vibe that’ll had me forgetting I was out on a weeknight.
By James Stride
*Kamakaze played Birmingham's Sunflower Lounge on Monday night.