It’ll be “lit to the nines” declares Amanda Azams, the organiser of Black Jam – the Afropunk, grime, rap, hip-hop and spoken word night. Off the back of a successful outing last year, the powers that be in the Fringe commissioned a sequel which almost had grime artist Lady Leshur make an unexpected appearance after her show in the Academy. But, alas, she got lost on the way.
“I was chuffed. When they messaged me this year, they were like Amanda we’ve done up the booklet and what we felt was missing was the BLACK JAM night.” Azams, who will also MC the gig, was inspired to put on the event because she felt there was a need for it in Dublin.
“I just wanted to put on a night where you could just dance, because there’s not much of a dance culture in Dublin I think. I wanted to make a night where I wanna go, which is a place where the music is cool— hip hop and punk music—it’s all live, everyone’s just vibing together. I can’t wait to see what connections will be made.”
From Balbriggan to London, former Afropunk Fest UK battle of the band winners Blackfish Collective, are guaranteed to destroy the speakers with their self-described sound of abrasive punk and grime.
Other artists on the bill include freestyle rapper MAI, who Azams describes as a female version of Death Grips, and Electric Picnic alumni and lyrical heavy-weight Damola. The night will also kick off with spoken word performances from various artists.
“Each group brings their own hype aesthetic. It’s a place where you can just be yourself. If you wanna chill and sit quietly drinking your gin in the corner watching—go for it babes. If you wanna get hype and mosh with your friends screaming along the lyrics to each performer—go for it. That’s what the night is. It’s a community vibe space The ethos is punk. Do what you want. DIY as shit.”
The event is being organized by Azams’ Fried Plantains Collective, and her friend Niamh Berne’s PETTY CASH collective.
“I love collaboration. Collaboration with friends makes a community.”
The event will also be free for asylum seekers, and Azams is working with Fringe in an effort to organize a bus that will collect individuals from a designated pick up point to bring them to and from the gig. Originally from Nigeria, Azams and her family came to Ireland as asylum seekers and spent a short time in direct provision.
“Whether you are a young adult or not, part of your independence is deciding to go to a café or have a pint with your friends. Going to gigs, that’s stuff that we take for granted, because we luckily are not homeless or in a position where we only have 20 quid a week. That can be really embarrassing and isolate you from so many things that you see your other friends doing. Something as simple as taking the bus down to hang out with your mates… you cannot do that.
“I don’t want people to feel they cannot afford to have fun with their mates at something as grassroots as an Afro-Irish punk gig. That’s the main reason I’m putting it on. It’s the least I can do.”
“It’s my personal form of direct action. Music binds people together.”
Words: Rose Ugoalah
Image: Grayce Leonard
Black Jam: Cure is on in The Complex on Saturday September 15th at 9pm. Tickets €10.