The main stage on Sunday at Summer in the City was a rock-fest bill jammed with appearances from Bethan Mary Leadley, Emma Blackery, Patty Walters, Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs, and many more. Still nursing a hangover from the night before, TenEighty made their way down to the main stage around 6pm to fully immerse ourselves in the final day of the weekend long event.
Kicking things off, at least for us, was a full band performance from Bethan Mary Leadley. Her band entered first with a vamp of guitars, bass and drums which built up the tension and excitement within the venue. We noticed the drummer was wearing GoogleGlass, apparently the first musician ever to do so during a gig.
Bethan then burst onto the stage accompanied by a huge roar from the audience. She walked straight up to the microphone and opened her set with Day Affair, the audience singing back the catchy chorus at her. Somebody To Love followed.
Bethan strutted around the stage like a rockstar, and the song culminated in an on-the-knees guitar solo. At previous events Bethan has often performed acoustically so it’s nice to see her with a full band. It truly adds a new element to her music and brings out the true performer within her.
We have a handful of highlights from her set, but our favourite two actually turned out to be covers. Her performance of Ed Sheeran’s Sing was lively, funky and delivered with a sassy attitude, making it our first. The second was her rockified interpretation of Lily Allen’s Hard Out Here. The pumping drum beat filled the space and the song even broke into a few lines of Good Feeling by Flo Rida.
Bethan ended the set with Don’t Wake Me Up, a new track from her EP which when performed live became the closest thing to a YouTube rock anthem we’ve yet heard. At the end of the song the band all leaned in toward the drummer who performed a massive fill and the audience went wild.
Bethan has transformed her quaint and timid acoustic-based set into a full-on rock show. She was a highly confident performer who completely captivated the audience along the way. We are truly proud of how far she has come.
Next up were Key of Awesome. They’re one of those acts that everyone is aware of (at one time or another you’ve stumbled across one of their many song parody videos), yet as far as we can tell no one in the UK really knows them that well.
While we recognise their significant following, we found that they stuck out like a sore thumb in the Summer in the City line-up. Admittedly, as they are in the game of parodying music, it doesn’t matter too much if their vocals or musicality is on point, but we found that it was lacking and often poor.
Before a couple of songs their frontman Mark Douglas explained the thinking behind the parodies. Their initial ideas may have been inspired, but how it translates into lyrics is often lazy and convoluted. Overall he came across unlikeable, arrogant and seemingly unaware that the audience he was performing for were predominantly teenagers.
We believe that The Key of Awesome are a good example of the side of YouTube that just creates content in the aim of getting hits, so when translating this to stage, and especially at an event that is extremely community based, they simply came across as naff. That’s a hard thing to do at a YouTube gathering but they achieved it. They were like a very poor man’s Lonely Island.
Patty Walters and his band AS IT IS were the next to hit the main stage. This was the first time they’d performed at Summer in the City, but Patty and band certainly knew how to win over the crowd. Opening their set with a cover of Sugar, We’re Going Down by Fall Out Boy was a wise move; all of Alexandra Palace was soon singing along and jumping around.
Patty is a thrilling performer to watch, feeding off the crowd, ramping up the energy in the room and turning the atmosphere electric. him and his band merge fast-paced rhythms, pop punk melodies and hardcore breaks effortlessly. It’s a craft they’ve clearly refined to create a high-energy set that encourages the audience to sing, clap and dance along.
And of course we were more than happy to see Luke Cutforth join Patty and AS IT IS for a rendition of his song A Song About A Girl. We’d previously seen Luke perform this with Patty at the Upload Tour, however it’s this performance that truly did the song justice.
Emma Blackery graced the stage next, performing some of her most well-known tracks such as The Promise and Go The Distance against a backing track. This made an interesting change from her stint on The Upload Tour where she played her songs acoustically.
Not being constrained by her guitar truly gave her space to jump around and really belt out the bigger notes. It’s always a risky move when artists decide to play against a backing track, especially at events the scale of Summer in the City, but Emma owned the space and showed everyone why she is at the heart of this community through her raw passion.
However as much as everyone was excited to see her perform, most of us were looking forward to what was coming next. A few months ago Emma announced that she planned to shave off her hair in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, Save The Children, Teenage Cancer Trust and St Luke’s Hospice.The cause raised £26,001 for the charities, and it was here live on stage at Summer in the City the head-shave was to take place.
She was joined on stage by friends and fellow stars of YouTube such as Charlie McDonnell, Dodie Clark, Gary C, Louis Cole and many more. All of them watched in awe as Emma’s father shaved down the middle of her head first, much to her dismay.This provoked the packed out Alexandra Palace to chant her name on several occasions, helping Emma hold herself together as she attempted not to squirm.
While this was happening she revealed how emotional the whole process was making her. “I feel like I’m shaving all of the bad things out of my life at the moment,” she said. “I’ve had so much stress doing all of the SitC preparation… I’ve gone through a lot of crap recently with people, and I feel like this is the start of something better.”
Once all of her hair was shaved off, Emma turned around to her father and gave him a big hug moving them both to tears. Alexandra Palace then erupted into applause and cheering, and everything got a bit emotional for everyone.
Before leaving, everyone on stage rushed in to hug Emma. It’s moments like this that remind us what a big, loving and caring community we’ve built, and events like Summer in the City allow us to share in moments like this far beyond the capabilities of YouTube videos. For that we are truly grateful. But the event wasn’t over yet.
Changing the tone completely and closing off the night was Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs. TenEighty had previously seen and reviewed the show, and we were eager to find out how they would adapt it for Summer in the City.
The comedy duo definitely delivered, and certain sketches, such as the cavemen or Jesus ones, were brought further to life thanks to dynamic lighting and the sheer scale of Alexandra Palace. It was genuinely heart-warming to see how packed out the venue was, and the audience was full of noise throughout the show.
We were initially worried after seeing them at The Soho Theatre that a lot of the sketches based on crowd interaction would be lost, and even though these were cut due to time-constraints, it soon became clear that this didn’t matter so much. Jack and Dean really fed off the energy the crowd was giving them, making the delivery of all their lines animated and enthusiastic.
As we’ve said before, their natural charm and chemistry is what keeps their performance flowing. The whole set seemed genuine despite it being scripted, a testament to how they have continued to refine this talent.
We were a little sad to see particular scenes not included in their Summer in the City performance, but completely understand why they wouldn’t have necessarily worked in this environment. Because of this we urge all of you, if you ever get the chance, to go see Jack & Dean & Friends Live in a smaller capacity venue.
Once again, Jack and Dean ended their set with a performance of Consent. Joined by Daniel Dobbs and Carlos Montero on guitars, the duo got Alexandra Palace dancing and singing along. It was jarring (especially when considering the recent climate within the YouTube community) to be in an arena full of people shouting the word ‘consent’ back at the stage, but for us this just highlighted how magnificent the YouTube community is, as well as the comedic skill and craftsmanship of the duo.
Levelling up the feel-good vibe, YouTubers such as Louise Pentland, Benjamin Cook, Hazel Hayes and many more invaded the stage during the guitar solo break of the song, while Jack, Dean and Daniel moved to stage front doing a synchronised dance together. This moment summed up the duos aesthetic for TenEighty: they can be silly, witty and rather clever but more than anything they’re bundles of fun and a joy to watch.
Closing the night off the organisers of Summer in the City came on stage to thank everyone attending for truly bringing their vision to life. This event truly topped expectations and was a vast improvement from previous years.
Many of the organisers revealed in an interview with TenEighty a month ago that one of the biggest challenges they’ve faced is keeping up with the sheer increasing scale of the community and the event. In our opinion they truly excelled this year, striking a firm balance between a controlled safe event while delivering varied entertainment from YouTube’s finest.
TenEighty’s editor Teoh Lander-Boyce was lucky enough to share in a moment with many of the organisers, volunteers and talent backstage when they all huddled around Tom Burns in a massive group hug. Ultimately, we are proud to be a part of this community, and truly admire all the hard work that went into this event. We believe that it really did pay off.
Want more Summer in the City coverage?
Check out our Summer in the City tag, where you’ll find all of our coverage.
Try our photo re-cap articles from Creator Day, Saturday and Sunday.
Or you might be interested in the following:
- Main Stage Saturday
- Long Form Panel
- Charity Online Panel
For more pictures from Sunday at Summer in the City check out our Facebook Album here, or take your pick from the following photo-sets over on Tumblr:
- Will Dixon
- Jamie’s Face Panel with Tom Burns, Emma Blackery, Carrie Hope Fletcher & Adam Spence
- Dave Giles with BriBry
- Sam Pepper, Mazzi Maz & Harrison Webb
- Orla Gartland
- Joe Sugg & Caspar Lee
- Bethan Mary Leadley
- Patty Walters & AS IT IS
- Emma Blackery
- Jack & Dean LIVE!
- Chip Daddy, Jake Boys, Adam Waithe & Sam King Signing
- Sam Pepper, Mazzi Maz & Harrison Webb Signing
- Helen Anderson Signing
- Benjamin Cook at the TenEighty Stand
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Words by Teoh Lander-Boyce & Alex Thomas
Photos by Olly Newport & Nathaniel J Rosa