IAMDDB – Flightmode Live at KOKO

For the last year or so, I’ve seen the sensation known as IAMDDB put out songs and music videos at a consistent rate whilst gaining mainstream popularity with her loose, trap heavy R&B sound. Her sass and charisma ooze into her music and platforms like a virus and she has been taking her sound across Europe, putting out her well received Hoodrich Vol. 3 to wide acclaim. All of this yet at the time when I had no clue what she was like on stage.

Jeaniq Amihyia|Red Bull Music

Thankfully, courtesy of Red Bull Music and the team at Warm & Easy, I was able to take her in on stage for the first time. How was she? Give me a moment to tell you.

I got in after 8pm due to some difficulties (sometimes it happens) but as I entered KOKO on the eve of a sold out show I did not know what I was in for at all. Red roses were being handed out to anyone who would have them, the sold out crowd were not there yet in body or spirit but I could feel the warm, feminine energy adorn the building. The blue neon lights hit me in sync with the house music that had the growing crowd in a trance. For me it was like going back to my Ibiza days and it was fitting given the warm weather we’ve been experiencing.

FlightmodeLiveSamFloating | Warm And Easy

For a piece, all I could hear was house music. I couldn’t hear myself think, but it was moving me due to the nostalgia that I had already experienced. House rhythms and electronic sounds were being fused with songs like ‘Bad and Boujee’ and ‘Goosebumps’, perhaps a metaphor for how the crowd looked on the night. People from all kinds of places and different races. Varied styles of hair. Different backgrounds. But most importantly there was a sense of unity and collective purpose. Everyone wanted to see the star of the show. But not before the festivities warmed up.

Back to the house music! As the spaces in the crowd got tighter the DJ’s were doing loads. There was the interpolation of T.I. ‘Why You Wanna’, a nice homage to Cardi B by the way of her anthem ‘Bodak Yellow’ and one of her recent bangers ‘Drip’. It was a real party and it felt like a sign of what was to come. The energy in the venue was rising and so were expectations.

South London drill artist Dimzy soon joined the party and it wasn’t long before the rest of 67 got involved too. They rocked the stage immediately going through a quick run of bangers such as ‘Skeng Man’, ‘Take It There’ and ‘Let’s Lurk’. They were so hype and the crowd matched their energy for their quick set.

Another DJ was tasked with keeping the crowd lively before IAMDDB was due to grace the stage and he could’ve taken it anywhere he wanted to. The set before 67 came on was good, certainly not what I would expect at an artist such as IAMDDB’s show opening up. But the intrigue was there. The crowd didn’t have to wait long to be intrigued either and they didn’t have to wait long. At this point the weed smoke was so prevalent that the security weren’t even trying to stop the premature 4/20 celebrations that were collectively taking shape in the room. The DJ started with ‘Plug Walk’ and from then on he didn’t miss the mark once. Not once!

It was getting to half 9 and the crowd weren’t even mad that the 22 year old vocalist was late to hit the stage. The stage was set and it was time for its diva to take the stage. The rebellious act took the stage, opening up with ‘Conjuring’ donning a black t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms to accentuate her shape and stick with the tour’s all black theme for the night. Not that everyone stuck to the dress code mind! As soon as that track played, it was like watching the video all over again. Sparks lit up the stage and it added to the scenery and feel that we were celebrating her journey back to KOKO.

She mentioned this journey briefly as she showed her gratitude to the crowd for selling out KOKO and bringing her back to her self-proclaimed “special place”. Before going on one of her Kanye West inspired rants, she commented on how she was grateful to have brought out a crowd as metropolitan as the one she faced. It brings me back to the deliberate use of the word fusion; it describes the crowd perfectly and it describes her sound to a T. Jazz influenced vocals on bassy, loose renditions of R&B with a hint of trap would be how I describe her music and this show reinforced why.

‘Pause’ and ‘More’ followed and the former was an exercise in crisp delivery of one of the standouts from VIBE VOL. 2. Her vocals were on point and not weak like people presumed they would be, she did well for someone that performs with such a high level of intensity and variation in her delivery. ‘More’ was a heartfelt reflection of a turbulent relationship.

After a couple of songs, she brought on Nadia Rose who riled the crowd by performing two bangers; one of them being her hit ‘Skwod’. The stage presence that Nadia displayed was inspiring and had a hint of Napoleon complex, not in the aggressive sense but in the sense that the petite rapper wasn’t overwhelmed by the stage she rocked but just took it in her stride. Some would argue that she stole the show and I can definitely see both sides of that argument. Maleek Berry did something similar at Made In America 2017 when he let Philly rap legend Freeway rock the stage and all his momentum was lost.

A couple more rants beckoned and I feel like they took away from what should have been a stellar performance. The section of the crowd that were immediately in my area were getting bored and restless of the excessive talking. I will never complain about an artist expressing themselves as too often we are forced to endure PR friendly dialogue without a real sense of personality. We already know that Diana De Brito has personality in abundance and it shows in her style, her production and her following. But I felt like there was something missing from her performance that day.

Friends of mine who are also fans have told me that when she was still coming up she performed like she had something to prove; performing more songs in the process. After performing ‘Shade’ arguably her biggest hit to date twice and she had bid us farewell, it felt like she took her foot off the gas a little. I can definitely see that she will take her sound further as she puts out more music. But I can’t help but feel that some sections of the crowd were left wanting more from her short lived set.

IAMDDB is a rising star and should go on to hit greater heights – why wouldn’t she at the ripe age of 22? But I feel that with some tweaks, more of an emphasis on performing and more considered choices in who she brings out to perform (the limelight can get stolen so easily) she can take her live performance game to a different level. I enjoyed the show and I’m glad that so many different people came out to celebrate her journey, but enjoyment shouldn’t come with a wish list.

Written by /
Published /
April 23
Category /
Event Review