Starting the year as one of State’s Faces, Simi Crowns is a name that has grown more familiar as 2014 has progressed. After supporting Pusha T in May and playing Electric Picnic this summer, he went on to play with Kid Ink and Mos Def in the past couple of months, leaving a lasting impression on many audience members. It only feels fitting that he headline his own gig to celebrate such a successful year. It is one of the few times that you can disregard Chuck D and actually believe the hype.
Never one to crack under pressure (no pun intended) Simi shows no sign of nerves, strutting on stage and commanding the microphone like a veteran. While the show itself it clearly well-rehearsed, it still retains an air of spontaneity, which is aided by his oozing charisma. He easily delivers on his promise to hype the crowd the further into the set we get. While he may be used to playing for bigger crowds, he appears to be more comfortable in a room full of people who probably have a better understanding of him and his music and are here specifically for him.
The addition of a guitarist, Harry Rambles, and the debut of some new material both do wonders to change up the pace. It allows for Simi and his band to showcase their genre spanning sound and general adaptability. It is the two closing songs, ‘Better Late than Never’ and ‘Pressure’ that allow him to pore out whatever remaining energy he has with such confidence and conviction that it is hard to limit such a big sound to this venue and crowd.
Simi Crowns photographed for State by Mark McGuinness