Live Review: Ibibio Sound Machine – Koko, London 06.06.2024

Henry Groves

By Henry Groves

A slightly different show for me tonight. Tonight, I was at KOKO in Camden for the electro/afrofunk band Ibibio Sound Machine. Before I even got to the venue, I knew this was going to be a night to remember. This was a hometown gig for the band, and people have travelled in their numbers, packing out the iconic Camden venue. Speaking to a few people before the show started, they assured me that this was going to be an incredible show, and that they never disappoint live, and they were not wrong. 

As soon as they hit the stage, the first thing I noticed were their outfits. In particular, the front woman, Eno Williams, is in a large sequinned hat and matching outfit. From the first note, the band were all moving, and I don’t think any of them stopped for the 90 minute set. The 8 members filled the stage, and the sound filled the room. The electro, synth-heavy afro-funk style had the whole crowd moving with the band as they worked through music off their latest album and older tracks. Talent oozes through the band and every song showed off a different member perfectly. With incredible guitar solos from Alfred Karl Bannerman, pounding drum beats from drummer Joseph Amoako and percussionist Afla Sackey and stunning vocals from Eno Williams. The main thing that came across in this set was fun. Every member beamed with joy throughout the set, and this was also embodied by the audience. I am not sure it is possible to go to an Ibibio Sound Machine show without singing, dancing and having fun. 

Highlights for me were ‘Got To Be Who U Are’ and ‘Pull the Rope’, which featured in the encore. Both are off their latest album, also titled ‘Pull the Rope,’, and since the show, I have been listening to it nonstop. This was one of those gigs where you go with very little idea of what to expect, but I cannot recommend an Ibibio Sound Machine show enough. 

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