It’s a mild spring evening, and about a thousand young Londoners have gathered on the uneven gravel and dirt of the Holywell Lane Car Park in Shoreditch, beer cans and spliffs in hand, going completely berserk to grime. This show has no tickets, no VIP, and no permit, just a borrowed sound system set up on the back of a truck parked under a railway overpass. The gates at the entrance have been swung shut, so scores of hyped-up fans are climbing over the 10-foot high wire fence to get in.
The man who brought them here is the 32-year-old MC and producer Skepta. He’s wearing a long black jacket with the words “anarchy is the key” written in rows across the back, bounding back and forth across the makeshift stage, trying to get everyone present to raise their middle fingers to the sky and shout, Fuck the police! “It’s a British thing, it’s a London thing, it’s a shutdown thing,” he bellows. “And we’re going on until they shut us down.”