It’s a Thursday night in Islington and ENNY is performing one of her first headline shows since lockdown restrictions fully lifted in the UK last year.
The London MC, real name Enitan Adepitan, immediately proves to be a humble presence onstage – perhaps as you’d expect from someone whose career took off during a time when live music seemed like a far off possibility.
It means that tonight’s outing proves the perfect chance to show off the tracks that launched her career, including ‘Peng Black Girls’, a collaboration with Amia Brave which was subsequently bolstered by a smash remix with Jorja Smith.
Flanked by her four-piece band at tonight’s performance, ENNY is interactive and constantly jokes with the crowd. She often chuckles when catching the eyes of concertgoers, almost in disbelief that she’s finally performing her own headline set.
But, despite a selection of sound issues, she proves a confident front-woman – likely helped by her own background in the spoken world and open mic scene.
This background also helps elevate ENNY’s stagecraft among that of her peers – her stage presence perfectly mirroring the intimacy of the tiny North London venue.
As for the fans in attendance it’s ENNY’s expected crowd, the venue is full of young teenagers and 20-somethings crammed into the upper bar-cum-performance space.
They lap up the strains of opening track ‘Malibu’, with some sparking an early singalong on the infectious restrain: “fuck this 9-5 it’s not me / kick down doors and go chase your dreams.”
A late highlight comes in an impromptu re-lick of Lauryn Hill’s ‘Doo Wop (That Thing’, with ENNY covering Hill’s raps while the crowd are given the chance to take the chorus and ad-libs into their own hands.
You suspect that it might be a savvy move to play into past comparisons between ENNY and the Fugees frontwoman – but it’s lapped up by a crowd who instantly take the neo-soul tones to heart.
Elsewhere, a special guest emerges in fellow rising artist and good friend R.A.E, who threatens to momentarily steal the show by jumping straight into the crowd mid-performance.
But ‘A Million Freestyle’ instantly has the room near silent, quickly commanding attention by moving into stripped back settings. She makes a wise choice in closing with ‘Peng Black Girls,’ an obvious crowd favourite, before running off quickly, seemingly a little shy with the ensuing appreciation.
It’s a promising early performance from an artist still blossoming, yet clearly already with the makings of a much larger, standout talent – whether she’s yet to realise or not.