Nothing beats live music. Tokyo Bar Southampton hosted a live hip hop showing last night - the first for many since March, before the initial Covid lockdown. The lineup hosted a variety of artists with the likes of Nade, LJ and RB starting things off before Triggz Legacy performed at 9pm, who was then followed by Melina Greene and Shannon B, with Forbes eventually closing out the night. With Muru in the booth all night, it was expected to be a good gig.
And it was. But - with the event being the first back for 9 months or more, hosted by Tokyo which has had to convert from its former nightclub setup to a sit down, lights up, ‘substantial meal’ type of setting, paired with the unavoidable Covid restrictions to boot - it was only fair to assume there’d be obstacles to navigate. Are the performers rusty? How will the seating be organised? Tokyo usually only plays pre-recorded music - how might the sound system hold up? And the uncertainty built.
Getting into the building was confusing.
One might have used common sense to assume that, especially considering the Covid situation, a venue wouldn’t oversell tickets to an event. However, there was a queue outside that moved so slowly that some got fed up and left. It’s said that for some, despite booking, entry was refused entirely. Triggz put out an Instagram story apologising to those denied entry (pictured).
Once in, though, the vibes were pretty good. Attendees dressed extravagantly, parading pavonine struts, relishing the opportunity to go out somewhere. The good value-for-money food served from Tokyo’s sister Milan helped compensate for the £9 rum and cokes. The bar had been split in half - one half with view of the stage, and the back half leading to the smoking area where the stage was obscured. Tokyo has done a good job of repurposing the car parking area outside the back of their building for outdoor seating, as well as ensuring prompt table service all night long. Drinks were drunk, performers performed and the event seemingly went to plan.
Around 9:30pm, in the back-most region of the bar, tension built amongst a group of 6 people. It was the farthest area from the stage that leads into the rear smoking area, and the mixed group of males and females didn’t appear to have attended to see any of the acts in particular - if at all. They were disconnected from the hip hop and R&B proceedings all evening; there was a literal brick wall between their table and the stage. A fight between two of the men broke out around 10:26pm, which the bouncers dealt with. The men were escorted out the front door to the venue, never to be seen again. Within a couple of minutes, the previously-dimmed lights had confusingly been turned up for full visibility. Then, around 10:34pm, after Forbes finished just his third track, he was told to stop performing. Those remaining could be heard chanting “We want Forbes”, as shown in the below video.
The music stopped and everybody left. It’s unclear why Tokyo called an event 30 minutes early following a dispute between two people who were unaffiliated with the performers and the main crowd; but we did manage to grab a selfie with Forbes and Muru after the show was over. Spirits weren't dampened and we're looking forward to the next one.
We asked Muru about why the show got pulled, to which he replied “There’s just bare restrictions. Bare restrictions.”
All things considered, most will be happy to be out somewhere and to hear the bass from the speakers. An early finish didn’t ruin too much, and if anything should make Forbes more determined for his next show - we’ll be keeping eyes and ears out for when that might be. For now, all we can say is:
It’s good to be back.