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Danny Brown and Novelist Ripped Up an 18th Century Mansion Over the Weekend

When Good Friday became Grime Friday.

I was gutted this weekend, when my mum broke the news to me that I am too old for Easter eggs. Time to get a full time job, she reckoned. Maybe get yourself a flat and stuff, she proposed. So, accordingly, I flatly ignored her and went to the Red Bull Music Academy Party in Bristol.

The RBMA’s UK Tour has already left it’s mark on Glasgow, and had major plans for its second stop in Bristol, including Seth Troxler, Gilles Peterson and Goat. But it was the "Lords of the Manor" party, in collaboration with Crack Magazine, that got me most excited. Built between 1712 and 1718, Kings Weston House was a site for the wealthiest and richest dignitaries and merchants in the South West to smoke their pipes and verbally abuse their butlers, and it's since become a grade 1 listed building. But tonight, all that protective admiration for baroque architecture and gentry pastimes was getting put to one side, to welcome a murky invasion of grime, hip-hop and the rest. Downton was gonna turn up.


The Square kicked things off, with the Lewisham MCs arriving on stage in increasing numbers, before unleashing their bars on the manor - and the presence of their most notorious member Novelist detonated that first hour. Despite being repeatedly referred to as an up-and-comer, the 18 year old MC is commanding an unbelievable level of attention, and he looked totally unphased by the antique chandelier that threatened to split his forehead if he got over excited. Then “Pengaleng” kicked in, and I’m not sure that many people have been that gassed in Kings Weston House since the remarkable south-east facing facade was completed in the mid-18th century.

Next, fresh from a less than complete set in Glasgow, was Danny Brown. No flying cups to worry about this time, and he was able to bounce through an unreal set in full tongue-slinging, sprout-haired style. During his talk in Glasgow last weekend Brown said his new music was going to be inspired more by System of a Down than your casual rap references, claiming he wants to make his Toxicity. There was no “Chop Suey” tonight, but the hints of new material definitely sounded wild and charged. The highest moments went to his heaviest hits though, most notably “Smokin & Drinkin”, two words that bounced off the parlour ceiling into the early hours.

Our evening ended in the hands of rap DJs Livin’ Proof, who played us out with some ornate wall to ornate wall hip-hop bangers. This came to head, with a huge circle, shouting Kendrick’s “Alright” back at the selectors, after which time was called and we stumbled home down the wide baroque stairs at the front of the building. The evening was a victory both for the minds behind Crack Magazine (who dreamed the whole thing up) and the Red Bull Music Academy who continue to facilitate the sort of crazy, dream events you didn’t think would be allowed IRL. Who needs chocolate eggs, right?

The Red Bull Music Academy Tour continues in London and Manchester.

Photos by Steve Howse and Athena Anastasiou.

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