On Sunday night, things went a little bit different than planned. Just a few hours before the doors, Novi Sad was hit by torrential rain, thunderstorms, and insane wind that caused damage throughout the whole city, and creating a mess at the festival site. Fixing everything up caused a bit of delay, and a timetable adjustment which saw GRiZ moving from the opening slot at 9 pm to closing set at 5:30 am, meaning that for us at least, everything came down to Skepta. And that's OK. More than OK actually, as he was one of my biggest priorities on this year's lineup.
Emerging from the shadow, looking more like a silhouette than a man of flesh and blood, and opening his hour-long set with a massive hit 'That's Not Me,' he fired up the crowd from the very beginning, making sure to carefully fuel it for the rest of the show. Despite being in Serbia for the first time, and not anywhere to be seen in the mainstream media and playlists in the country, he didn't need to introduce himself, proving that underground still lives and can still be very powerful. Making a mix of new and old material and dropping songs like 'Crime Riddim’,' 'Redrum,' 'Ain't Safe' and 'No Security' he kept the diversity in his set, never slowing down.
As expected, he finished things off with his career-defying hit 'Shutdown,' wreaking havoc in the crowd. During the whole set, his tracks were followed with well-thought video projections, bringing the vibe of the London underground to the massive stage, neutralizing the vast space between the crowd and the performer. Absence of the special effects like fireworks, CO2 cannons and everything else that became the standard for the main stage performance at the major festival these days only made Skepta's performance better. The minimalist approach made it more intimate, more raw and direct, and to be honest, I wouldn't want it any other way. A perfect way to call it a night.