So about half a dozen Ronalds have hit me up asking when I’m going to review KOTR North’s latest smash event, North East Is East. Well, the fact is that I headed up to Hull a day early to catch up with some people, and the good folk of that fair city go HARD. If you know, you know.
As a result, I actually remember precious little of the event. However, I am a humble servant of this battle culture, so I’ll do what I can to immortalise this (probably) fantastic event for the ages. I’m Bard, this is the KOTR blog, let’s get disrespectful.
Kye Cambino vs Max
Having rocked up to the Round the Corner Bar and helped myself to a couple more pints, (seriously, you can get a pint in Hull for like £1.60, are you mad, bruv?!) and lit up a sly stinky one, it was time for the opening battle. The barmaid clearly smelled it on me but fuck it, this is Hull. The smell of Amnesia Haze is all they have to cover up the fetid stench of the Humber and the pong of the nearby dog chocolate factory.
Max has a bit of an odd, squeaky voice for a geordie. Kye Cambino has a win over Chronicle under his belt so he should have taken this. I have no idea who won. I think it was maybe Kye? I seem to remember him being a little more forceful which won over the crowd despite a low punchline count.
Reelapse vs Tron
Reelapse had been gassing himself up all afternoon by DJing a hard, loud grime set which bordered on assault. As a result, he took to bouncing around the ring with his patented narrative storytelling, carrying the assembled Ronalds along for the ride through his madcap world. By the second round people, myself included, just seemed to be waiting for him to say the next thing we could justify cheering for.
Tron dealt with the situation like a pro. Unflustered, he took the approach of just delivering his structured, focused material with an air of ‘please, let me work.’ It did indeed work because there’s a certain self-conscious absurdity to his style which is hard to make look foolish. Regardless, Reelapse (I think) took it by being that shade more entertaining overall.
Kray Shendo & JTC (TFN) vs Chappo & Live Lans (Bud Sugar)
It’s all starting to go faint at this point. I was expecting this clash between two of KOTR’s biggest factions to be a bodybag for TFN and it really wasn’t. Home crowd advantage played a big part, but only in that it gave Chappo a level of confidence I hadn’t seen in him before, and Live Lans got the boost he needed to make a noteworthy King Of The Ronalds debut. They were focused, polished and gelled so well as a team that their performance became whole levels greater than the sum of its parts.
Kray and Jack were Kray and Jack. Kray handled the withering hails of multis, while Jack hung back and anchored each round with more grounded, observational punches. I remember thinking I’d have liked to have heard more of JtC, but whether that has any basis in reality or I just couldn’t remember more than ten seconds of the immediate past is anyone’s guess. Regardless, it was (probably) a fantastic battle with Chappo and Lans the deserving new KOTR Tag Champions.
Teknico vs JayBe
A surprise KOTR UK title match between two of the league’s strongest newcomers. With just one brilliant performance against Blitz easily propelling him into contention, Teknico came with the same effortless-looking charisma and pro-level punchline count which marked him as one to watch. Unfortunately, his third fell apart which was perhaps the only deciding factor in one of the closest matches I’d seen in a while until that point.
JayBe simply had more grind behind him. He found the ideal level between the overly-laid back approach he took in his early battles and the slightly rushed material he brought the last time I saw him. The pacing was perfect, the writing was as great as ever and he had the stamina to go three full rounds and maintain control over an increasingly rowdy crowd. The third newly-crowned champion of the day looked justifiably pleased with himself as he was proclaimed the new King of the (UK) Ronalds.
Bowski vs Bard (special guest segment by chaboy Kray Shendo, aka Mr Put The Cans To Your Meat Like Fray Bentos)
An entertaining shambles. Bard limbered up and roared his aggressive lines in bowski’s face. Punchlines aplenty. Bowski responded with a whole two rounds of beard jokes; entertaining, if a little laboured.
The third disintegrated somewhat as the reasonably priced alcohol began to take its toll on the crowd and the performers, but the two powered on through regardless, laying into each other’s ability (or lack thereof) to perform their duties as KOTR staff members. Bowski was, as usual, funny, and Bard made sure he delivered a fitting swansong, referencing the fact this was to be his last battle.
Cheers, Kray. I will say now what I didn’t have the presence of mind to say on the night: Bowski is a fucking legend in this battle game, one of the first dudes to say hi to me at my first ever event and a true gent ever after. It was a privilege to have my last battle, at least for the foreseeable future, against a vet like himself. Ronalds for life, baby.
P Solja vs J Short & Oshea vs Joker Starr
Nah. It’s gone. By this point I wasn’t even thinking. I’d become a stinking parody of a man. Joints weren’t doing the trick so I’d taken to sneaking off to the nearby graveyard to light huge, cavernous pipes and wash them quickly down with (by this point) my dozenth jagerbomb.
I don’t remember sequences of events, just snapshot images of where I was maybe standing at certain given times. I remember standing leering over JayBe’s shoulder during Solja/Short, gurning like a gargoyle and braying along with the crowd whenever they made noise.
I’d become everything that’s wrong with battle rap, an insensible dullard, unable to process the words being said right in front of my face and just reacting to whatever sounded pretty. Winners? Losers? Bars? Jokes? All had taken a back seat to my self-destructive spiral of intoxication, my headlong charge into oblivion.
I’m sure the battles were really good though.
All Hail Discordia.