I shuffled into the Electric Brixton with no clue of what to expect. The atmosphere was just that, electric, with a real sense of anticipation in the crowd. It was Buraka Som Sistema's last UK show before an indefinite hiatus from the music scene, and supporting them was the energetic Punjabi-Chicago rapper Shivani Ahlowalia and her Danish production duo, together known as Alo Wala.
We entered the main room of the electric to find we were late to the party. Fists were pumping, people were grinding on eachother, the whole dancefloor was pulsating to the carnivalesque bombastic sounds the DJ was spinning. This was certainly not a gig for the wallflowers.
After stepping onto the dancefloor myself for a while (and slaying, I assure you) it was about that time Alo Wala graced the stage. Having read their feature on Thump previously, in which they were described as a "tropical bass trio", I was more than excited to see the cultural mashup of sounds that is Alo Wala.
Being a support act for such a hugely popular dance music group must have been daunting. Buraka Som Sistema, drawing influence from Portuguese techno beats and African zouk and kuduro genres, are known for their endless dancefloor fillers. Alo Wala definitely had to impress. No pressure.
Enter Alo Wala. The crowd literally roared with delight as she took centre stage. Not wasting any time, the chicago rapper unleashed her flow to a screaming crowd, with pulsating, heavy beats. Alo Wala was fearless, delivering tune after tune, and hyping the crowd up to the fullest. They even invited two members of the audience to dance on stage (who ended up killing it- seriously, EVERYONE at this gig could dance like a pro.)
Cityboy, from Alo Wala's EP of the same title was definitely a favourite. With it's catchy rhythm and dancehall vibe, it had everyone on their feet. Alo Wala's set cemented the concept of "Global Club" in my mind. "Ah, so this is what that is, I thought." And well, damn, I like it! Other favourites were "Vibrate to Win", which really showcased Ahlowalia's lyrical ability, and Texi Mexi, both from the Vibrate to Win EP. Check that out below, and definitely keep your eyes (and ears) on Alo Wala!
Words by Neela (@foxyneela)