Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards - a night to discover, enjoy and dance
Gilles Peterson has been hosting his Worldwide Awards for 11 years now, which in itself is a pretty incredible accomplishment. What makes the evening unique and more special is the quirky vibe that the concert / award show / party cleverly navigates - the event continually bounces back and forth between its' various personality almost seamlessly.
By my count, there was more than 20 artists who graced the stage between 8pm to 3am, often performing in easily digestible 40 minute microsets. The diversity and frequency of the musical arrangements created a different atmosphere but kept the crowd energized and on their toes (with one notable exception). Funnily enough - the format was a perfect fit for a generation often credited for having a lack of an attention span.
Most Impressed: Anderson .Paak
Gilles and the voters’ winner for ‘Breakthrough Act of the Year’ was Anderson .Paak. His incredible background (http://rwdmag.com/exclusive-interview-anderson-paak-it-took-a-lot-of-balls-to-just-trust-in-my-art/) entails a journey of getting fired from Marijuana farms, being homeless and then finally his recent remarkable ascent.
Seeing him live you immediately feel his enormous stage presence. Initially, you see Anderson cryptically strut onstage and start rapping, face covered by an oversizeded hoodie, the next minute he's behind the drums, then he's up again dancing to the energetic fusion sound with a giant smile that radiates throughout the room.
As he sees the crowd react, you can almost see Anderson feeding off the energy and the sound gets better and better. If you see Anderson .Paak coming through your town, do yourself a favour and get a ticket before he's selling out stadiums. In the below video, the sound is horrendous, but you can see a bit of what I’m talking about.
There was an incredible Bossa Jazz duet performed by Ed Motta and Dayme Arocena that was as lovely as it was souring. It was a great example of the diversity of the musical performances and the overall talent in the room. Motta and Arocena were able to challenge one another and allowing their set to climax into a breathtaking moment.
lil Simz came out and by appearance seemed rather unassuming, almost as if somehow an accountant got lost and ended up onstage but when she rapped you could see the talent oozing out of her. Her North London accent holding the room and her gritty voice were mesmerizing. After presenting Anderson .Paak the breakthrough artist award, the two of them performed a duet of Anderson’s song “Room in Here” which may have been the greatest highlight on a night full of them.
Least Impressed: Eska
Eska has had a terrific 2015 culminating with her nomination for the Mercury Prize for her debut album, however Gilles’ WWA was not her night. Coming off of an extremely energetic and entertaining set by DJ Khalab the energy seemed to have left the room with Eska’s performance. Her song choice and delivery were very low key and her band-mate’s harmonica solo felt out of place.
Full Winners List:
The full list of winners is available in Gilles’ site, http://www.gillespetersonworldwide.com/wwa-2016-the-winners/.