Rowan Sawday aka Dizraeli is a Bristol dude who’s lived in Brighton for a few years now. I first met him about four years ago when he performed some spoken word at a monthly night I used to DJ for and I’ve seen him go from there to winning the BBC Radio 4 Poetry Slam and playing at various hip hop nights in Brighton. An all round good dude, he’s playing Brighton as the final leg of a tour with his band the Small Gods.
He’s assembled a really good band consisting of Bellatrix, playing upright bass, DJ Downlow on the cuts (a former UK DMC finalist), guitarist Lee Westwood, Paul Gregory on drums, Jules Arthur playing viola and keyboards and Cate Ferris on background vocals, lead vocals and flute. Dizraeli plays guitar, occasional melodica, a little bit of percussion and both sings and raps his vocals depending on the song.
The Brighton crowd are really up for this show, there’s a lot of faces from the Brighton hip hop and spoken word scene as Diz is a man with a foot in both camps.
The set consists of some material off his previous album “Engurland (City Shanties) with tracks like “Engurland” and “Bomb Tesco” going down particulary well. It’s a great danceable set, with the amiable Dizraeli acting the perfect front man encouraging crowd participation, chatting to the audience, joking with the band and generally demonstrating that music should be about fun.
The musicians are all really good too. Dizraeli gives them plenty of room to solo and lets Bellatrix showcase her beatbox skills as she’s the current world female beatbox champion.
Whether they’re showing their folky influences or dovetailing into a drum ‘n’ bass double-time workout that gets the crowd jumping, these Small Gods are a festival act that should be destined for the big time.