Barney Artist Live @ 02 Islington Academy

So yesterday was the first headline show for Barney Artist at the 02 Academy in Islington and boy what a show it was!

The first warm up act was Sam Wills and he absolutely smashed it! Came out to a room full of people and just started playing on his Korg keyboard. I can’t name the first 2 songs he did but they were both amazing. Very soulful and groovy, it must be hard to move a crowd with just yourself and your keyboard when you’re not already a star. But this guy showed no signs of nerves and performed his heart out. Next up was his stripped down version of “In The Midst Of It All” . This was just beautiful, proper tugged on the heart strings lol.


For his last song he did something very creative where he recorded himself beatboxing and then singing/humming until he created his own beat. After a couple of minutes of build up it turned out to be a cover of Bob marley’s “Jammin” and was absolutely amazing. This guy is very talented and will be someone else to watch going forward.

The next warm up was supposed to be a DJ set from Tom Misch …. but this didn’t quite go to plan as Tom had an issue with his laptop. Instead we were blessed with an acoustic from the man himself with the assistance of Alfa Mist throughout and Laura Misch on the last song. Now I’ve covered all these songs previously in my last blog about his show however hearing with them with just a guitar and keys switched it up completely!

He went through Hark, Sunshine, Let Me Dance, Follow and Colours of Freedom. Considering it was basically improvised it made it even more special.


From there we had a little warm up from Barney’s DJ, Buttery Hotness … Yeah I know not the name you would expect right? But this guy smashed it played pure garage bangers in line with that summertime vibe. He definitely played a big part in getting the crowd involved and cracked a few jokes along the way, it was good to see.

Then we finally had the man himself Barney Artist jump on stage full of energy to drop the intro to painting sounds. The crowd were hyped and he reacted to it blazing through with a ferocious delivery. This definitely set the tone for his set and he came out looking like a seasoned vet rather than a 23 year old that’s been only making music for 5 years.

Next up was “Down”, the first single off of the album. Dope, Dope, Dope! performance, full of energy as he was throughout the whole set and definitely threw in some different skanks (Dance moves for the unaware lol).

Following on from this we had “Rubicon” after an intro talking about the original UK drinks. Supermalt, Lilt and Panda Pops LOL. Personally one of my favourite tracks off of the album/

Now the next track I have to give ratings to Barney and his DJ for the creativity on this one. Barney started talking about inducting everyone into grime before dropping Beep Beep Beep. However there was as switch coming in here, after the first verse the DJ dropped Wiley’s Eskimo Riddim which if you don’t is a grime classic! Barney spat the rest of his track over this beat after numerous pull ups. Very very smart move from both guys.

The next track was a special one as Barney’s childhood friend and producer Alfa Mist came out on stage to drop his verse on “Epilogue”. You can see the chemistry between the two and Barney let it be known that Alfa is the reason he even has a career today. Very sincere and humbling to see.

Next up we had Barney bring out Emma Vie for their collaboration “Nothing Around” which is a bit of a change to the previous tracks but dropped very well. I actually recorded this in two parts as they pulled a little switcheroo with the beats again, this time using Slum Village “Fall in Love”. Both artists pulled this off very well and was a very smart change in mood on the night.

Oui one of Barney’s older songs was next and met with a rapturous applause. Following from here we had almost the “dark” moments of the night with leave and destructive beauty. 2 of the more thought provoking pieces on the album, before performing Barney discussed growing up in 2 different areas and not really feeling in place. Also speaking being raised by his single mother on one side in East London and his more well off god parents just outside of London. He really helped put these songs into perspective, even more so if you’ve seen his painting sounds documentary (If it’s dropped 👀).


The last few tracks we had the pleasure of hearing were “Painting, I’m Gonna Tell you and Stay Close” I won’t post every single video but they’re all on a youtube playlist here

On another note before I close this off, somehow Barney managed to get everyone to do the electric slide to Stay Close before the DJ dropped Candy. Now you know how it goes when this drops in a party, had everyone that knew the dance fully going for it and everybody else kind of bumping into people and then dropping out lol. It was a sign of how great the crowd were and a testament to Barney as an artist himself ( See the word play). I personally had a great time there and would like to say I caught the electric slide on camera but I was definitely in the middle of it lol.

All in all it was a great night  and I’m expecting to see special things from this guy and his team. Everyone involved should give themselves a pat on the back for pulling it together.

Looking forward to seeing/hearing from this team in the near future.


Ramblings of a Music Fan



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