Hesta Prynn, Lion of Ido

Mike Hughes 10/02/2011

To use one of Hesta Prynn's own favourite words, tonight was totally dope. Bringing a healthy slice of raw New York rap sensibilities to East London, Hesta raised something of a storm on the tiny stage at the Old Blue Last. That's not doing the music justice - hip hop infused and rock-heavy pop would be nearer the mark. She might aspire to bigger venues, but tonight's club sized box was the perfect pressure cooker.

Support band Lion Of Ido were doing double duty as Hesta's touring band. We'd already witnessed that were pretty full-on impressive in their own right, way better than many so-called headline acts trotting their stuff up and down the City Road. That you could then add Hesta to the mix, and it have the fizzing, exploding impact of a firecracker in a train carriage says a huge amount. I spend half my life at the Old Blue Last and I've never seen the stage bouncing quite like that, doing its poor wooden best to contain the ball of energy above.

Up early in this short set was 'Seven Sisters'. On record it has a loose and baggy beat, but tonight, driven along by the Ido crew had quite a different drive, the guitars and bass pushing it into a punchier direction. I've witnessed Hesta before. On that occasion she herself was the support act and it felt like pop music. Tonight had a definitely harder edge.

The gig was last but one night of a European tour, and was also the launch party for new single 'Turn It Gold'. It's officially out on Valentine's Day, and has a nice line in Adam's Family cheesy weirdness in the back loop of the chorus. It's a strong song, about getting totally into the groove with a track on heavy rotation. If it's not too recursive a concept, it deserves a dose of its own medicine.

Hesta's pretty compelling on stage, the dance moves more convulsive than choreographed and bridging any gap with the audience. At one point she was trying to get someone, anyone, in the crowd to pass her a bottle of water, offering a poster from the merch stand as an inducement. Not getting a quick enough reaction, she upped the ante "OK for fuck's sake, make it a blow job". Luckily a bottle got passed to her from the back of the stage by bass player Crista Russo.

We'd been promised something from her Northern State days, and got the rap of 'Mic Tester'. The lyrics are pretty apt for her strut and confidence "I'm Hesta Prynn....Don't you know who I am?....I'm the right girl and I don't give a fuck that I rap like a white girl". On tonight's performance she's got the chops to go with the strut and is definitely going to be one to watch when she gets her album underway later this year.