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Joshua Idehen : Corsica Studios, London – Live Review


Joshua Idehen
Corsica Studios, London
20th May 2024

British-Nigerian Joshau Idehen returns to London for a one-off appearance. Keith Goldhanger reports.

The best things come to those that wait. Joshua Idehen, now residing in Sweden is back in London for a one-off show inside South London’s Corsica Studios venue. A small club under a railway arch just a five-minute stroll from Elephant & Castle tube station. This is a rare opportunity to see the man formerly of Benin City (Their Last Night album still sounds great to this day), former collaborator with Kojey Radical, D Double E, The Comet is Coming and Sons of Kemet.  It’s been ages since we saw him perform and for one or two of us, this is an unmissable gig.

Last years uplifting Mixtape (a compilation of Joshua’s music and still sounding as fresh today as when it came out last year) ‘Learn to Swim’ is heavily featured this evening but it’s the unheard pieces that are also accompanied by some breakbeats, electronics and (four) backing singers that make tonight’s visit south of the river also worth every precious moment.

“Take a look around you and realise this is all we have” is a phrase aired more than once by the main man tonight. At one moment there’s a pause in the proceedings when Joshua encourages us all to shake hands, hug each other, look the person next to us in the eyes and tell them they’re good people. For these short few seconds, he’s also among us joining in before rejoining the stage. It’s a lovely moment during a lovely performance that has us laughing, crying and hoping we will be able to remember everything a couple of hours later when trying to reflect on everything that has made this evening such a satisfying and wonderful experience. He stops another time mid-song to tell us a very long joke describing various ways to describe someone doing the washing up. It’s hilarious and will probably be released one day with another warm unintrusive breakbeat to accompany the piece.

This is Joshua Idehen at his best. Exactly what we wanted. He’s chatting away in between each song and at times sharing one or two dark moments with us. The big bass drum that can lift any event sneaks up on us slowly each time. Learn to Swim is performed and by the end of what begins as Joshua unaccompanied ends with big beats and arms in the air. It’s a brilliant version of what some of us believe is a brilliant track we’re used to hearing with just a piano tinkering in the background.

In just over an hour we’re wriggling our hips, shaking our feet, singing along to and trying to take in every syllable that Joshua speaks and sings. It’s captivating, eloquent, sad, funny and poignant. It’s a performance that leaves everyone in the room not only grateful for each other but for venues such as this where he reminds us we can all feel at ease with the world. He warns us there’ll be no encore and ends the set with a cover of Talking Heads Once in a Lifetime.

This is a performance that everyone needs to experience, which we’re sure is what Joshua aims for whenever he steps out of the house nowadays. Bloody lovely.

~

More information on Joshua Idehen can be found here.

Words by Keith Goldhanger. More writing by Keith on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find Keith on Facebook and Twitter (@HIDEOUSWHEELINV).

Photo by Isabella Zermani

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