He recently collaborated with dance kings Disclosure on the seriously smooth Willing & Able – but last night all attention was firmly on Kwabs as he crooned and danced through a set of deep soulful cuts at Concorde 2 in Brighton.
The release of debut album Love + War may have been a long time coming, but the wait appeared to have only deepened fans’ affection for the London based singer.
Beginning his set with the album’s title track, it wasn’t long before Kwabs’ delicious baritone elicited goosebumps as he held sustained notes over the brooding backing music.
Indeed, it was during the darker songs in his catalogue that the 25-year-old was at his best.
The hypnotic driving synth of Last Stand provided the perfect backdrop for Kwabs to showcase his vocal talents. While the simple piano notes that underpin Perfect Ruin evoked such emotion that the audience could only stand in awe as he sung about lost love.
It wasn’t all darkness and sorrow, though. A surprising cover of Major Lazer’s dancehall hit Lean On was given a Kwabs makeover, and the steel drums of Into You had everyone swaying. The biggest sing along was reserved for Walk, his biggest hit to date, while long time crowd favourite Wrong or Right has lost none of its power.
Credit must be given to his talented backing band. From the swagger of the backing singers, to the powerful beats, groovy basslines, emotive guitar licks and funky keys; all played their part in crafting richly layered tunes.
He’s proven he can blend retro funk with present day soul and electronica with great success. Now he’s a firmly established artist, it’ll be interesting to see what Kwabs’ next steps are on his musical journey.
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