Set on the grounds of a recently converted golf course, Naked City’s inaugural year championed the bubbling jazz and soul scene in London and beyond. Moving the focus away from traditional big-name headliners, the Beckenham based one dayer featured an impressive array of tastemakers that have defined London’s rapidly developing soulful sound.
Flagbearers of jazz’s new wave, Ezra Collective stole the show on the main stage with an incredible display of classic jazz musicianship, pulled into 2019 through their take on underground UK sounds. Their rendition of garage anthem 'Sweet Like Chocolate' neatly summed up Naked City’s ethos of fusing the contemporary with classic genres.
Other notable acts were Leifur James, who’s captivating performance felt fitting as the rain poured overhead. A few sound issues during his show weren’t enough to take away from his unique live sound. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said of Blue Lab Beats, whose performance was slightly tainted due to these issues.
Despite this, there were countless other incredible musicians on show throughout the day. Kamaal Williams put on a typically bold show on the main stage while Fatima delivered a beautiful performance at the intimate acoustic stage tucked away amidst the woods.
Admittedly, Naked City felt like it was meant for a day of sunshine, which sadly wasn’t the case. However, the rain did little to dampen the atmosphere, which reflected the open-minded nature of a festival of this billing.
The evening was wrapped up by a flawless DJ set from jungle legend LTJ Bukem. As the final and last remaining act of the day, the London favourite had the energy at a peak with seemingly the whole festival at The Bunker stage.
Although there were some first-year teething issues, Naked City has a lot to take into its second year and its carefully considered curation and laid-back atmosphere will ensure it becomes a main stay on the London festival scene.
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Words: Angus McKeon
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