Tru Thoughts 18th Birthday at the Roundhouse, London: Showcasing independent talent

It’s really comforting to know that in a music industry seemingly dominated by a handful of major labels and lookalike acts from TV talent shows, there’s still room for true independents to thrive.

Three cheers then for Brighton-based Tru Thoughts, as the label has just celebrated 18 years of soul-infused success at London’s Roundhouse with an all-star gig featuring acts from their healthy roster.

Founded in 1999 by A&R man Robert Luis and Paul Jonas, the label has helped promote a range of talent from funk to hip hop and soul that may have otherwise never been heard.

Take Simon Green aka Bonobo. He cut his teeth here before switching to another indy label Ninja Tune. Indeed, Bonobo’s critically acclaimed debut Animal Magic was the first album release on the nascent label.

The birthday bash gave the label’s latest recruits a chance to showcase their talent on a variety of stages across the venue. Downstairs in the Bassment room, fresh signing Rhi kicked off the show with some killer tracks from her debut album, before grime legend Flowdan took the crowd to another level.

Up on the Terrace bar, Belleruche produced a storming set to a packed dancefloor, the tunes going down so well he ended up playing for another hour.

Overall, the party had the vibe of a festival, as around 3,000 punters weaved their way through the crowds to catch different sets. Sprinkle in a raft of different craft brewerie along with pop up food, merchandise and vinyl stalls, and you have all the essential elements for any crate digger’s dreamland.

Main stage highlights included Bryony Jarman-Pinto joining Werkha and Berry Blacc, and New Orleans finest sons Hot 8 Brass Band. But for me special mention has to go to Wrongtom meets the Ragga Twins. The DJ and producer has produced an incredible album In Time and the time-served trio’s uplifting party jams had the crowd roaring their approval, single “Bacchanal” a particular stand out – as were the references to lemon drizzle cake!

After a polished seductive soul-infused set from Alice Russell and band, the main stage acts finished with a DJ performance from Will Holland aka Quantic.

The label has nurtured his career from creating solely sample-based tunes to live recordings with the Quantic Orchestra, and then on to his Flowering Inferno releases, steeped in Colombian and world flavours. A fitting finale to a timely celebration.


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