Anti fascist hip hop raises roof and cash 23-3-19

An anti fascist benefit gig at the Amersham Arms in South London with live performances from Killa & Mange, Premiere Ligne, Signor K and Janset. 23-3-19

On December the 9th a rally organized by Tommy Robinson & UKIP attracted an angry response from anti racists. With their trademark impartiality the Police came down heavy on them and several anti fascists found themselves under arrest. Across the blue lines the fascist rally passed off without incident as several thousand rightwing Brexiteers were treated to a string of dull speeches having been warmed up to the sound of Morrissey. Obviously the millionaire reactionary wasn’t there in person. But his boring slosh was played over their sound system again & again to salute his recent attempts at courting controversy by chatting shit in support of the far right.

Which kind of brings me to my point. Because despite having access to a lot of stateside money these days, our fascists have always lacked one thing that the financially poorer left has in buckets. Something that will always put them at a disadvantage when it comes to winning over the youth that they are so desperate to recruit: A decent sound track.

Not only do the most credible & talented elements of our diverse London scene pay lip service to the anti fascist left, they also put their time & expertise where it is much needed. So under the banner of ‘BRING THE NOIZE’ we get to witness some of the best grime and hip hop on offer from a truly international line up. While also financially supporting some of our detained activists at a benefit gig in South London for what is a very reasonable entry fee.


We arrive just in time to witness Janset take the stage. She is completely unfazed by being the only woman on the bill and has the audience jumping in a matter of seconds to her style of rap. A blistering assault of fast tempo chatter delivered with astonishing precision. The MC/composer/producer exudes a confidence that leaves the crowd begging for more when her set comes to an end. The bar has just been set extremely high for the rest of this gig. Check out her latest single here and her back catalogue here.

Signor K

Next up with barely a pause for breath comes Italian rapper Signor K. He is undoubtedly the most overtly political artist onstage tonight. Every number in his set is a call to arms of some description from the opening chimes of ‘All get out’ to the closing mayhem of ‘Jackanapes’ his conviction is relentless. Other highlights of his set include ‘DALLA PARTE DEL DIRITTO ALL’ABITARE’ (roughly translated as ‘On the side of housing rights) an angry diatribe about the lack of affordable housing in his native Milan and the brutal response from the state to the crisis. ‘VIVA PALESTINA’ goes down an absolute storm and requires little explanation. But perhaps his most fitting tune for this event is ‘CHIEDILO ALLA LIBERTÀ’ (Ask for Freedom) which pays homage to the Italian partisans of World War Two whose heroic resistance to Mussolini continues to inspire all those who believe in resistance to this day.


Following in quick succession comes Premiere Ligne from Paris. Sadly Skalpel one half of the rapping duo is unable to make it here so instead we get a solo performance from E.One and he does not disappoint. He prowls the stage with a menacing intensity, chatting little between the songs and never once breaking his focus from beginning to end. It is 23 years since the brutal brilliance of French hip hop was pushed into the public consciousness by the release of ‘La Haine’. It is no exaggeration to say that the anger, which inspired the soundtrack to that movie, burns stronger than ever. The racism & violence of the French establishment and its cops towards the marginalized gets perfectly demolished by his cutting words, offset by a smooth & faultless delivery. The beats of banlieues are pounding South London and the crowd are loving it.

Killah & Manage

Finishing the live acts where we began, with some home grown talent, we get a rare set from Killah & Manage who bounce off each other perfectly in what is a largely improvised set. The only recorded track played in its entirety is ‘The Original’ from the 2012 ‘Shame the Devil’ album by Caxton Press. The rest is a mixture of old and new raps on old & new beats. It is a great finale to a string of flawless live performances. I seriously hope these two decide to rekindle their past cooperation and play together more often.

So by the end of the night over a grand has been taken most of which will be winging its way to our arrested comrades thanks to the generosity of the performers who’ve come here and played for free. Well done to the organisers from the Brigata Ultra Clapton and the hosts from the New Cross Amersham Arms.

When the far right succeed in getting anyone remotely credible from the live music scene to play their tedious gatherings we’ll be in trouble. But right now our events are not just separated by a different set of politics & values along with a generation gap of 20-30 years. We also have the tunes that they could only dream of.

Words & images: Guy Smallman