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Review: Cafe Kissa & Dreamflower Collective's reinterpretation of Childish Gambino's Awaken My Love

A great combination of good vibes and grooves as Dreamflower Collective reinterpret Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love.

By Dylan McNally, Second Year History

Following on from the success of their listening parties at The Love Inn, Café Kissa scale up their ambitions, enlisting Sheffield’s Dreamflower Collective for what they call a ‘live reinterpretation’, setting their sights on Childish Gambino’s Awaken My Love.

A new event brought with it a new venue, but moving from The Love Inn to Lost Horizon was no issue. The result was a bigger crowd, but one that was just as engaged. From the opening lines of ‘Me and Your Mama’ to the surprise encore of ‘Sober’, the crowd were both entirely relaxed and entirely absorbed. This was not the evening for people to pretend they were too cool to care, it was an evening to have a good time – a fact everyone knew. This collective ambition to simply have fun created a synergy inside Lost Horizon, with audience and band building off each other.

In their reinterpretation Dreamflower Collective, unsurprisingly, lose some of the album’s atmosphere, given that a fully, 100% accurate recreation of the album was never the aim, and that trying to do so would be nigh on impossible in the live setting. But what it might lack in atmosphere, it gains in added groove.

Credit: Dylan McNally

Awaken, My Love was once described by Pitchfork as ‘funk worship’ and Dreamflower Collective certainly brought the funk, but they brought the soul too. The ‘big two’ from Awaken, ‘Me and Your Mama’ and ‘Redbone’ were, understandably, standout moments; especially the first refrain of “let me into your heart’” during the former, and the build-up to the second verse in the latter, and Dreamflower Collective push them into becoming the anthems they were always meant to be. But it isn’t just the classics that work; for instance, it was nice to hear ‘California’ with a conventional approach to vocals, as opposed to whatever Donald Glover was trying to do with his original, point being that other tracks weren’t neglected in favour of the popular ones.

By the time the evening reached the closer, ‘Stand Tall’, and we were duly informed by the band that this was the final track on the album, no one could or would have bemoaned the evening coming to an end, but as ‘Stand Tall’ ended and the expectation of a total ending fell upon us, the band offered a correction. It may have been the last song on the album, but it was not the last song of the night. That accolade went to ‘Sober’, from Childish Gambino’s previous offering Kauai and proved to be triumphant end to a night of groove and good times.

Café Kissa offered up the perfect marriage of band, musical content and audience. Lost Horizon proved the perfect space, and Dreamflower Collective the perfect vessel for the music. People may have had ideas, but I doubt anyone really knew that this would be the case. There was a seeming lack of expectation from the crowd at the beginning of the evening. I suspect this won’t be the case next time around. By putting on a night of this calibre, that is something Café Kissa and Dreamflower Collective have earned.

Featured image: Dylan McNally

Will you be going to Cafe Kissa's next event?