River Nelson

Venue: Notting Hill Arts Club, London

Date: 30th September 2010

By Seri Davies | 07 October 2010

Notting Hill is more than just home to the Carnival, corny chick flicks and reality TV shows. It's also home of the NHAC, which is renowned for harbouring fresh talent. Last week saw Brooklyn’s finest, River Nelson, graced the stage where he very much made himself at home.

Performing songs from his debut album ‘The Rise and Fall of River Nelson, the man himself was eager to make an impact and let his audience see why he‘s become such a hit on the underground scene. From the outset, he had the crowd in this small intimate venue in the palm of his hand, and his infectious energy made it hard to keep still while he rapped along to personal favourites ‘Always Winter’ and ‘Beautiful Life’. Songs like these are just as beautiful and poetic as anything Common could have produced.

Adding to the fresh and vibrant atmosphere was a projector showing clips of Brooklyn, giving a real glimpse into what his world looks like and the surroundings that have inspired his music. His DJ did an equally good job of making proceedings animated, with his samples and vocals backing River up nicely. In between songs, he was simply laid back and relaxed. As one person in the crowd commented, ‘He was like a comedian who you could have watched all night.’ There is something compelling about River Nelson, and his ability to ‘keep it real’ was visible. This was definitely one of the most relaxed gigs I’ve ever been to and his interaction with the crowd was something unique.

River Nelson is not a shy man and lacks no charisma. When it seemed like he couldn’t roll any more energy through his body, he would come off stage and embrace the crowd. I even found myself two-stepping and dancing along with the performer himself at one point. An involuntary act of pure enjoyment which had quickly spread around the room.

There is no denying that River is a talent, and his live performances ooze such character that even if hip-hop wasn’t your thing, you’d find everything about him compelling. A Fresh, upbeat and truly convincing showcase of talent. I hope this guy gets the recognition he deserves!

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