You would never think that this was Dotty’s first headline show ever, but the Thornton Heath based artist has been building for this moment for a while now. I think the turning point for me was when I heard his contributions to the well received 2017 NEW GEN compilation album. To this day “Thoughts” is still one of the most heralded songs on that album and provides a snapshot as to who Dotty is as a man and an artist. He wears his heart on his sleeve and uses his words to paint a picture of his past failings and the growth undertaken on his journey, so Thought Night was an apt name for his debut headline show.
Following a series of freestyles on Bl@ckbox, GRM Daily and Link Up TV, he fine-tuned his ability to freestyle and put that into his 2018 debut project London X Living: A Collection of Sounds. The collection of 14 songs that captivated listeners and displays a potent level of introspection and a keen ear for beats; songs such as “Rollercoaster Love”, “Beautiful” and “Change Up” display this. So it was only right for him to do live and hit the stage in Oslo’s intimate venue in Hackney.
Supported by DJ Hacko on the decks and artists Nipah, Lil Kay G5 and Dominique Laurn, it’s clear to see the vibe that the underrated rapper was going for as his support complimented elements of his own music. Hacko knows how to work a crowd as he’s displayed on various mixes (including his recent guest mix on OVO Sound Radio) and tours regularly with Disturbing London’s own mood music connoisseur A2.
Dotty came on for a short set but he made the most of it and created good vibes for his intimate crowd. Listening back to his album, I would say that live music has definitely had an effect on Dotty as he worked closely with his producers on creating a sound that could easily translate over to live music. Seeing him perform “Change Up” put that into realisation for me as the live band injected new life into his song. The mix of refreshing, vulnerable rap with live instrumentals is something that more rappers should look to when putting on a live concert. He maybe a newcomer to the stage show thing but he knows how to work a crowd.
However, musicality is not all that Dotty has to his artistry as he’ll point out tracks from his catalogue such as “Gone with the Wind” and the Sokari produced “Bless”. His energy on wax translates to the stage as he displayed on this cold October night. Despite the weather, his passionate performance lit up the intimate venue as his bounce tended to naturally sync with the bass. A highlight from the show was seeing Bobii Lewis join him on stage for an icy performance of “Beautiful”. “I ain’t shallow ask the women that I passed on, I had a deep conversation with the last one. I told her make up doesn’t cover insecurities, that’s in your heart or in your mind or passed off in your jeans”. It song that offers important commentary on appreciating the insecurities of women and letting them know that they are beautiful regardless of them.
All in all this was a very good debut headline show from Dotty. He ran through quite a few of his tracks but I can’t help but feel that it should have been longer. This is just the start for him though, that shouldn’t detract from the quality of the performance that he put on. They do say that less is more after all!
London X Living: A Collection of Sounds is available now on all major streaming platforms.