The UK elections, Brexit, Trump and the current state of world affairs, all contributed ironically to giving last night at London’s Scala the feeling of what unity actually looks like. Sending their love to Manchester, Riz Ahmed and Heems donning Manchester United and Manchester City Football shirts – made a touching tribute of their own to last weeks tragic attack.
Swet Shop Boys are a trio who mix East with West and add their own magical sound. Redinho, Himanshu (Heems) and Riz took to the stage last night and delivered what can only be described as an electrifying set! Performing back to back tracks from their 2016 project ‘Cashmere’ they had fans singing word for word. Can you imagine a mixed crowd of White, Black, Indian and Pakistani people bouncing up and down to ‘Terminal 5’ and ‘Tiger Hologram’? It was pretty incredible to watch! The Western-Desi’s were wearing their heritage badge proud and chanting the chorus to ‘Aaja’ at the top of their lungs… picture a packed Scala ringing loud with Urdu/Hindi choruses.
It was a night of the ‘desi turn-up’ but the lyrics run deep. Swet Shop Boys are not afraid to comment on the social and political landscape Asians face. As the audience fell to silence when Riz performed ‘Sour Times’, the poignant lyrics cut through – “I’m losing my religion to tomorrow’s headlines…”. It was a moment where you just stopped, stood still and listened, like properly listened to each word, each syllable and silently nodded in appreciation of the real, honest words.
Last night made it clear just how important Swet Shop Boys are to not just Brown people, but the culture too and why music unites like nothing else. You only have to search #SwetShopBoys on Twitter to see the reams of admiration for the group. Brown people adoring their heritage and the music that is pretty much their source of comfort for the current times and for that we thank you Swet Shops Boys…