On Friday 28 February, OnPoint brought a stellar line-up to Metronome for a night to remember.
First up is Ashaine White, who takes to the stage and quickly makes herself at home, despite being one of the only performers on the line-up who isn’t from Nottingham. The London-based singer invites the audience closer and sets the tone for the evening in doing so: “I’m not from these ends… but we’re family”.
With the crowd on board, White delivers a set full of smooth and soulful vocals, backed by a tight band. It’s a melting pot of different styles including jazz, soul, R&B and hip hop (with the singer citing Lianne La Havas, Erykah Badu and D’Angelo as influences), and on occasion, things even start bubbling over into something close to rock. Brand new single Inhale, Exhale wraps the set up nicely with a choppy, irresistibly danceable groove and hooky chorus. White and her band are enjoying it too.
Saffron Gray is welcomed by an excited crowd – a number of whom are evidently already fans – singing along from the first song. Compared to her EP, this performance features a more ‘stripped back’ sound. Bringing a fresh perspective on 90’s-tinged R&B, the up-and-coming singer projects a laidback confidence throughout and is obviously making waves in the scene.
Next up is a local rapper who needs no introduction. Jah Digga takes things up a notch with quickfire poetry over boom-bap beats. This is hip hop at its most potent; heartfelt, socially conscious and thought-provoking – and interspersed between the songs come flowing a capella freestyles with a strong emphasis on the power of community. Highlights include Jah trading verses with fellow wordsmith 2 Tone who makes a brief guest appearance, while the reggae-inspired House Clean gets us all moving, simultaneously giving us all an insight into Jah’s Sunday morning routine.
The energy in the room goes through the roof as Liam Bailey makes his way to the stage. Fresh off the plane from New York, the Nottingham-raised singer’s only chance to rehearse with the band had come just before the show, but this didn’t detract from the experience. If anything it added to it – creating a rollercoaster of a set – with the audience along for the thrill ride. Throwing all of his energy into his performance, Bailey is electric to watch; his voice is stunning and the band are on fire. The set ends with an impromptu freestyle rap jam featuring Karizma and Ty Healy.
After one last interval of classic hip hop, Etta Bond’s moment has finally arrived. The anticipation is palpable, and as the headliner emerges the crowd erupts into excited cheers and squeals. Before getting into her second song, Bond’s attention is caught by someone holding up a phone in the front row and seconds later she’s excitedly waving to an old friend via video call. The set is full of human moments like this, and as an audience we’re all made to feel like friends, too – with Etta casually discussing her tea recipes and sharing the importance of self love.
Hooks from The One and Ngaf provide perfect singalong opportunity, while songs like Love Me Up and Feels Like showcase the sweet tone of Etta’s upper vocal range. The set continues with a mix of material from 2019’s double album and the occasional deep cut, each a hit with crowd. Watching her on stage, it’s clear that Etta is a performer who is confident and comfortable being herself. With nothing to prove, the queen of the evening is soaking in each moment – enjoying the chance to perform to a hometown crowd. It’s a real treat to witness an artist at the top of their game. What a night for Nottingham music.
Words by Michael Kane
Photo credit Tom Morley
If you’d like to discover something unique at Metronome, we have plenty more events coming up.