Event review: Live @ Croydon Pop-Up Emporium

By - Monday 13th October, 2014

Wes Baker is organising a series of pop-up music events in Church Street Croydon. Here – with a little help from his friends – he reports on what happened one Saturday in September

Organisers Assemble. Left to right: Miguel Rodriguez, Wes Baker and Sean Ward.
Photo by Croydon Pop-Up Emporium, used with permission.

On Saturday 27th September I was delighted to help stage the second Live @ Croydon Pop-Up Emporium event. It’s an idea born from a quick chat with a few of the retailers at the Croydon Emporium, our town’s latest ‘pop-up shop experience’ (to quote Croydon Council!)  about increasing footfall in the store as well as awareness of its existence. I suggested live music.

I’m a local street photographer/creator of the CDN brand and these days, along with colleagues Miguel Rodriguez and singer-songwriter Sean Ward, also the organiser of this ongoing monthly music event.

For performer Bessy Naidu the Pop-Up Emporium is “a step in the right direction for young people in Croydon. Conceptually, the scheme is ideal for providing a platform by which young artists can experience performing on a public scale alongside more established musical talent. As a performer at the event this September, I found that the humble set had a cool vibe and all the people there great to talk to”.

Among the performers and the audience there was a rounded appreciation for the showcases of all genres and everyone who attended socialized with ease afterwards. It is always easier to perform with a large, expressive crowd backing you and the audience was keen enough! Talk of tips, compliments and collaborations were buzzing in conversation, fulfilling my personal intentions to learn more about succeeding in the gigging circuit and have a great time with great people! The event was more than a success and in the greater scheme of Croydon, CDN and Pop-Up are a real go-to destination.

It’s cool – you can do your shopping and catch some talented local musicians

John Paul Butler also performed at the Croydon Pop-Up Emporium last Saturday for the second time. “I enjoyed my first performance there so much”, he told me afterwards. “It’s a really cool venue, where you can do your shopping whilst listening to some really talented local musicians. This time I played with my drummer Thili and brought a few of the Beats & Eats crowd down with me. I was once again really impressed with all the acts that performed”.

When we entered, we were greeted to some improvised rapping from Mr Ekow. He had all the crowd engaged and clapping along. He performed a great set, and we chatted afterwards about working on some music together. I also watched a short set by Jules & Remi, who I know quite well from Beats & Eats. I love the alt-indie guitar from Jules combined with Remi’s beats (where she uses various cymbals and a cajon). They have a very unique and interesting sound. I watched a short set by Conrad who was very entertaining. The crowd loved his set. I was particularly impressed with his beatboxing. I’ve not seen many people do it as well as him.

Check it out and support your community

Thili and I finished off the event to a great response from a young audience. We really enjoyed playing and the venue has a great sound. After playing mainly originals, we finished off with a Beatles’ classic ‘Don’t let me down’, which everyone sang along to. We’re looking forward to the next event and highly recommend people to come check it out and support their community”.

Ian Anantharajah, another performer that Saturday, describes the event as the most successful yet. “A crowd of music lovers [was] already filling the doorway when I arrived. The highlights of the event were youngsters Bessy Naidu and Dabin Shrestha along with headliners John Paul Butler, Mr Ekow and Conrad Murray”.

Bessy Naidu gave a performance that most of today’s pop music stars would dream of doing – even continuing to sing acapella at one point when there were issues with the backing track music. Dabin’s talented guitar playing and smooth vocals kept the ladies in the audience hanging onto his every word.

Conrad Murray’s song celebrates a certain part of the female anatomy

Mr Ekow gave a refreshing performance, reminding the crowd that today’s hip hop was nowhere near as diluted as the current genre of music in the charts.

Conrad Murray kept the RnB lovers entertained with his own rendition of R. Kelly’s hit, ‘Your body’s calling’ and his own song professing his love of a certain part of the female anatomy. Beats and Eats founder John Paul Butler and Tilly performed some of the singer’s repertoire with the crowd clapping along to the more upbeat tracks.

Live @ the Pop-Up Emporium shows that musical talent in Croydon is bursting at the seams, and along with other local music events such as Music at the Unit and Beats and Eats, will help local talent reach an audience that would otherwise not know of their existence. This was proven by the numbers of shoppers and tram commuters who were drawn in by the sound of real music.

The next Live @Croydon Pop-up Emporium event will take place on Saturday 25th October, midday – 6pm, at 86-88 Church Street CR0 1RB. For more information email us or follow us on Twitter@CDN_zine. 



Street photographer, 1st of the Frohicans and Croydon's No.1 fan according to my parents. I graduated in Transport Design at Coventry University summer 2012 and made my way back to the town I love to continue working on my Croydon facebook page. I eventually met some of the other local creatives with the same enthusiasm and soon knew it was my mission to engage with and hopefully help to get the word out about the creative potential and future of Croydon.

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