Live Report: size? Sessions Festival | Live – Clash Magazine

Originally size?sessions debuted as an intimate in-store experience, designed to connect the culture of music and fashion. Platforming established and up-and-coming artists alike. Years later – on August 20th, in fact – the O2 Victoria Warehouse in Manchester played host to the very first size?sessions festival. Across three rooms (the main room, second stage and DJ section) the audience got to move between a comprehensive presentation of some of the best talent the UK has to offer. Accompanied by a psychedelic mushroom-themed chill-out area for those who needed a quick rest and recharge.
The UK rap game can be very London-centric so seeing such a monumental line-up in Manchester came as a breath of fresh air. The artists on the bill were extensive, to say the least, with over 20 acts that incorporated countless genres including R&B, drill, rap and grime. AJ Tracey, Nines, Knucks, Miraa May, Comfy, Kenny Allstar, the list goes on. A steady flow of punters milled around, providing a relatively calm start to proceedings, that is until Miraa May took to the stage in the main room. Performing her best material to an adoring crowd including my personal favourite ‘Make Room’.

By the time Knucks came on after it was as if you blinked and half the universe had manifested in front of you, people clamoured and chanted to catch the North-West London rapper whose rise over the past few years has been nothing short of meteoric. The room started singing the lyrics to ‘Leon’ before he’d even got a chance himself. The dynamism Knucks brought to the place leading up to Nines was a taste of what was to come for the rest of the festival. 
Seeing Nines perform live is about as rare as a planetary alignment, a fact that the atmosphere in the venue mirrored tenfold. High points included a tribute to Skrapz (who couldn’t be here due to his probation) by playing his ‘One More Chance’ freestyle and hearing ‘CR’, in all honesty, size? could have sat me in a room by myself and played me anything from ‘Crabs In A Bucket’ and I would have been ecstatic, so hearing his older material along with it was like icing on the cake.
It was a hard decision to cut short watching AJ Tracey’s remarkable set to head over and see M1llionz, who closed out the show as the headline performance in the second room. Having seen M1llionz perform a few months before it was remarkable to see how he responded to each audience. The Manchester crowd was definitely the strongest, welcoming the Birmingham rapper with high-octane energy that bolstered his performance to the next level. All of them chanting ‘Lagga’ passionately and proving that the city holds some of his most die-hard fans.

The format of the size?sessions festival was ideal, especially for those who wanted to discover some new artists, as well as catch glimpses of their favourite musicians, each set, was around half an hour. A few shifts occurred in the timings between performances but for such a comprehensive line up it was a snag that was not only to be expected but handled with precision and went almost entirely unnoticed.
The inaugural size?sessions festival can without a doubt be considered a striking success. If anything the only downside was that they had so many artists I wanted to see that I would have needed two of me to see it all. But “leave them wanting more” is always a good principle to follow and will certainly bring the crowd back and then some, if they decide to make the festival a recurring annual event I know I will be making the leg up to Manchester to be there. 

Words: Naima Sutton
Photo Credit: Ollie Buckle
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