Less than a couple of hours away from taking the stage for his first ever headline performance, Wolverhampton’s own’ S-X is backstage, preparing for this first step into the limelight. Surrounded by close family and friends, the energy is surprisingly tranquil ahead of his highly anticipated Show #1.
Following the success of his career in production, there is arguably a lot to live up to for S-X and his mellifluous, soulful sounds. An almost sold-out crowd begin to trickle into The Slade Rooms from around 7pm, waiting to see the producer turned performer. With credits from some of the biggest names in music, including the likes of Childish Gambino, YMCMB and not to forget, the legendary D Double E performance on ‘Wooo Riddim’, his journey as a performer has already begun on solid foundations.
S-X’s vocals have been strongly embedded into his extremely poignant self-produced efforts, from ‘Plans’ to ‘Everytime’, the latter being the first single from his upcoming project, ‘Reasons’ set to drop March 30th.
9pm hits in The Slade Rooms and S-X rises to the stage, rocking a silver satin puffer jacket and his trademark shorts, looking casual as ever. As the lights dim he breaks into the first two cuts of the night, ‘Intro’ and ‘Too Hard’, from his last project ‘House Clothes’ – a 6-track EP with a deep, dark, bass-heavy type of vibe, released back in September 2017.
Entranced by the melodic vibrations, it’s as if the crowd are watching the sounds, and not him. Such shadowy, almost murky instrumentals have evolved into S-X’s trademark sound over the years. Coupled with the steep high-pitched tones he delivers on tracks such as ‘Realised’ and ‘I Tell You’, it’s a style he’s always felt comfortable using to narrate his stories. “I’m very laid back, calm and reserved,” S-X explains to me earlier on in the night, “but when I’m comfortable in situations I will be loud and energetic. So I think that matches the music – organic. I’m seeing it develop now, as I’m getting more comfortable with this whole thing, which is probably why the new music is more up-tempo and energetic. I can’t wait for it.”
Not too deep into the set, we get to see that energy on display with the performance of ‘I Need You’, as S-X hops around the brightly-lit green stage, blaring out the lyrics from the chorus, “Cus you know you’re the one for me right now…” before the beat drops. A vivacious moment jarring you right from your core.
After a few more measured and undisturbed tracks in front of the cosy and compact crowd of 400 or so, the eagerness for the exuberance S-X teased with ‘I Need You’ is convened perfectly with the arrival of Birmingham kingpin, Jaykae. Frivolous as ever, with a mic in one hand and a drink in the other, they perform ‘Anymore’, a track from Jaykae’s own EP ‘Where Have You Been?’ featuring S-X, before jumping into what’s proving to be, the smash single ‘Moscow’.
The final four tracks bring about a level of hype that you don’t expect to see from a soulful, R&B type of performance. From ‘Plans’, which the crowd screeches lyric-for-lyric, to ‘Still I Get’, mosh pits ensue over screams that rupture your eardrums, and Snapchat lights up the room.
The end of the night sees S-X joined on stage by long-time collaborators and friends, TGF, a Wolverhampton-based YouTube collective with millions of subscribers, which helped break S-X by syncing his music into their somewhat, peculiar, content. The crowd break out into chanting their name, and then proceed to rush up for a photo opportunity with S-X after they wrap up the show
If the last few releases are anything to go by, 2018 is expected to be a year of growth, musical vigour and overall triumph for the newly staged S-X, and we can’t wait.