‘I SWEAR on my life not to carry a knife’ – this was the pledge signed by 230 young people at an anti-knife crime music event in Slough.
Youngsters packed out The West Wing in Slough for the Bands Against Knives gig organized by SWIPE, Aik Saath and Thames Valley Police.
The audience of under 25s signed up to Slough’s Anti Knife Crime Pledge and answered a questionnaire about knife crime before entering the venue.
A total of 15 local acts performed, proudly sporting wristbands with the pledge and badges with the word ‘No’ made out of knives.
Comedian Stuart Laws was compere for the evening, joking with the bands and audience throughout the evening holding the night together.
Jessie Silence opened the night and said a very simple few words before starting his solo set: “If you carry a knife you are more likely to get injured yourself, use a knife and you will end up in a body bag.”
Nate Musiq was up next and soon had the audience waving their arms in the air and joining in with him singing popular covers.
New band Changing Yesterday had their debut performance which was well received by the audience who left their seats to come forward and interact with the band, the rest of the night had much of the same with many of the audience standing the whole night.
A passionate spoken word performance against knife crime was given by Diamond Bevell who walked out into the crowd who were hanging on his every word before bursting into applause after the immaculate delivery of his final line.
Fried Squirrel performed an outstanding set with new guitarist Craig Malone’s arm moving so fast it couldn’t be seen they showed true class using this performance as a warm up for the Vodafone Live and Unsigned competition on Sunday in which they have now gone through to the next round.
Lil Skims bounced out in an energetic performance of his own rap material.
A surprise highlight of the evening was the appearance of a new performer who became an instant star.
Aunty Knife Crime took to the stage and instantly won the audiences appreciation Aunty knife crime was in fact local singer songwriter Drew Black in Drag.
Aunty Knife Crime warned young people against the perils of carrying a knife with her rap against knife crime. Aunty knife crime then thanked everyone for throwing her an Aunty Knife Crime Party and with event organizer.
Jamie Green and Aunty Knife Crime threw out chocolate bars crisps and anti knife crime bags to the screaming crowd.
How do you follow that? David Hackett from Together we Hunt had the answer when a large balloon was punched out into the crowd and they launched into their energetic pop punk set sending some of the audience into a frenzied mosh pit of fun.
By comparison Dman and Jon Jon were more sedate but had a strong anti knife crime message to push out, Dman spoke about how a family member had been stabbed and the effect that had had on him before they livened things back up with their hip hop set.
Local Dancers Spiced then took to the floor to show that it’s not just bands that are interested in getting young people to drop the knife, they had special anti knife crime hooded sweatshirts made brandishing a no knives logo.
Latisha Dendie did an outstanding solo performance before joining the rest of the dancers in a stunning visual display of high energy dance moves delighting the audience who whooped and applauded.
Armada of secrets were up next following the dancers with their drum and bass filled dance music getting the audience up doing the Macarena at double speed to one of their own tunes fun was had by all.
Local Girl Lizzie Massey returned from music collage in Brighton bringing her Brighton Based band “Deadbeats” with her much to the delight of her local fans playing their original funk tunes with the professionalism of a well seasoned act , hard to believe they have been together less than a year.
Skadilly had the audience up dancing again with their cheeky blend of Ska Ben Barbie Collins lead singer jumping into the audience and encouraging them to do different dances through the set with the horn section and the rest of the band looking like they were having the time of their lives.
After Skadilly it was announced that a secret super group had been formed during the past few weeks and had been working on a special song.
The Band was made up of on Drums Daniel Endersby from Fried Squirrel, from Together we Hunt Billy Hutton on lead guitar, Rhythm Guitar Craig Malone, Bass Carl Dawkins from Armada of Secrets, backing vocals Amy Green from AGP and Nate Musiq, Jamie Green event organizer struck 2 electric Gongs which made an instantly recognizable introduction to Michael Jackson’s anti gang song Beat It.
This was shortly followed by the Legendary Onkar Judge dancing his way up to the mic. The crowd cheered and whooped at Onkar’s arrival onstage and were amazed by the fact that he actually was fronting a band. Onkar fell to his knees as Billy Hutton played the infamous guitar solo from the track immaculately to the delight of all.
After the frenzy that Beat It caused, things wound down when Onkar gave a passionate speech about how his nephew had recently been involved in a gang and he dedicated the song beat it to him before performing the song that caused him instant fame on X-factor to the delight of all.
Appropriately it had just turned midnight and Onkar was performing Earth Song at the start of International Earth Day. Members of together we hunt and Skadilly joined him on stage to sing, a great ending to a great night when so many young people both performers and audience stated their disapproval at knife crime.