On a rainy Friday in Brighton, patrons and professionals found respite at Zahara nightclub, where some of UD‘s finest Incubator co-hort took over the stage for the afternoon. The intimate venue was lit by epic lighting that changed colours, reflecting over the array of talent that graced the stage. Starring David GotSound, NAYANA AB, Emiko, Mar!k, AE & Saiming…
David GotSound kicked things off with his well crafted bars and intimate energy – oscillating between levels depending on the song. This was key to his performance as his music varied in vibes and production.
He got the crowd involved asking them to join in (when he says “Greatness isn’t”, they’d say “given”). David had a bunch of different flows in his pocket and atmospheric stage presence.
The live band took NAYANA AB‘s music to a whole new level. You could really hear the texture in each track, two of which came from her latest EP, Intrusive Thoughts. It was undoubtedly her greatest performance yet.
The depth in her voice felt elevated in this live performance as she belted those vocals with passion. Nayana also explained what each song was about – giving away the sentiment behind the song was a nice touch.
Emiko wowed the audience with his impeccable vocal range as he made his way through his soulful catalogue. He had live keys and guitar which created the perfect backdrop to amplify his voice. His soaring vocalisations were impressive.
He got the crowd involved on his song, ‘Old School Lovin‘‘ as they went back and fourth singing the title of the song in different octaves. His music is timeless and that translated perfectly on stage.
Our current fave female rap duo, AE, otherwise known as Ads and Els, got the crowd pumped up with their assertive, feminine energy. Their vibe was magnetic, they bounced off each other with ease as they laid down cheeky wordplay and double entendres.
They’re definitely an act the ladies can resonate with. They ad-libbed each other’s verses and kept a fun, playful energy throughout.
For his final track, he took random words from the audience and put them in his Notes app, and then freestyled while playing bass guitar to the melody of ‘Rain’ by SWV. The crowd cheered every time he dropped a bar relating to one of the random words and he finished it off by singing the lyrics to the original song and encouraging the crowd to join in.
R&B songstress Chrissy Day brought her angelic aura to Brighton. Her silky tone and slick melodies were adored by the audience. Her R&B sound oozes star quality. She’s got riffs and runs for days on end. She got the crowd to join in during her chorus of her song ‘Outside’ that’s due to drop in summer, a track about people who smile in your face and talk behind your back – even though they’ve gotta meet her outside as a result, she doesn’t fight, so she’s put it in a song. She sings those assertive lyrics at lightning speed and still makes it sound sweet.
Warming up the crowd for his headline slot, DJXHNWAV spun the decks. After cheering him on stage, Saiming finally stepped in to the rainbow reflective lights to spit his intricate rhymes while DJXHNWAV ran the rhythms.
NAYANA AB joined him on stage for their upcoming collab ‘Final Chance’ produced by Maniko, a bouncy house track about giving someone one more chance in a situationship. When it came to his finale, he got the crowd to “get low, get low, get low, get low” while Lil Jon’s ‘Get Low’ played in the background before transitioning into ‘WOOF MEOW‘, as the crowd bounced up and went wild for the viral smash. He gave the Zahara stage a fantastic UD send off, the crowd was buzzing and dancing throughout.
All the acts certainly represented UD to the full, and we’re really proud to have brought more of our favourites to The Great Escape in 2023.
Words & photography: Kat Friar