Monthly Archives: May 2013

Alicia Keys: Set the World on Fire Tour


Alicia Keys: Set the World on Fire tour

Nottingham,  28th May 2013

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Alicia Keys has currently been working her way across the UK, with her latest tour Set the World on Fire. Last night she brought her trademark piano and mesmerising voice to Nottingham’s Capital Arena. This tour promotes Alicia’s new material from her fifth album Girl on Fire.

The show time for Keys’ arrival was 8:40pm which is earlier that most arena schedules.  However, this meant she had the chance to show off her impressive catalogue and everyone got the chance to hear the old-faithfuls.  Instantly she grabs the attention of the crowd by opening with a snippet from her most iconic track to date Empire State of Mind.

Dressed in a sparkly bodysuit and tight black trousers, Keys was styled to suit her curvaceous figure.

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In quick succession, Keys smashed out old hits Karma and You don’t even know my name showing the crowd her powerful vocal range. Keys showcased new tracks Tears always win and Listen to your heart as she sat behind the grand piano with dancers performing methodically around her. Whilst every performance was full of captivating charm and effortless skill, the crowd lacked enthusiasm other than polite clapping.

Without a doubt Alicia keys remains one of the most talented artists in the industry providing sophistication and grace in everything she does. The show contained elements of choreographed dance moves which were executed with class but for most of the time Keys jammed behind her piano as she glided from hit to hit.

Mid-way through the show she made some dedications but slipped up by thanking Birmingham for coming rather than Nottingham. She continued with an emotional rendition of Not even the King, stating that her son always asks her to play this track at home.

The encore had the crowd on their feet as Keys performed an energetic performance of Girl on Fire which included some body-shaking Beyonce type moves as well as showcasing an able talent for playing the drums.  Keys was quick to rectify her earlier mistake as she substituted ‘New York’ to ‘Nottingham’ during a now full rendition of Empire State of Mind in a shimmering purple gown.

Anyone going to see this show should be warned to take tissues and a jumper because this girl although on fire will leave you freezing with spine-tingling perfection! Alicia will be performing two shows at London’s 02 Arena, with special guest Miguel on 30th and 31st May.

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As One in the Park Festival

As on in the Park Festival

 Victoria Park London,  26th May 2013

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The festival season started with a kick this bank holiday, welcoming Radio One’s Big Weekend to Londonderry Ireland, closely followed by the newest gay festival As One in the Park. Victoria Park, commonly known for its iconic Field Day festival, saw 30,000 festival-goers flock to the site the previous day before making way for a smaller crowd of 4,000.  The crowd appeared in high spirits as they prepared for a day of scorching sun and live music including the likes of Union J, Katy B, Conor Maynard and Rita Ora.

Opening the stage was UK 2012 beatbox champion Grace Savage. Having recently been the support on Labrinth’s tour, Grace took to winning over a crowd with her unique artistry in her stride.  She instantly grabbed the crowd’s attention by making various noises in the mic but as soon as she started singing rather than beatboxing the crowd zoned out.  Although beatboxing is not a highly promoted art, she took her time to tell the crowd how each part of her tracks were pieced together using a loop machine.  This obtuse demonstration simply ruined the dynamics of her act and gave the impression that beatboxing was quite easy to do.  There’s no question she can beatbox but maybe she should consider cutting out the long parts of her singing in order to sustain the audience’s attention.

DJ sets were played in between acts in an attempt to keep the vibe of the festival going and while the stage was being prepared. Although playing some mainstream tracks such as Rihanna We found Love, Daft Punk Get Lucky and Duke Dumont Need U (100) Feat A*M*E hit the spot the first time around, the same songs were unnecessarily repeated throughout the day.  Promoted by Orange Nation as the biggest gay festival, the lack of gay icons and crowd pleasers such as Kylie or Madonna was evident and showed that this section of the festival had been ill thought out.

Conor Maynard performed single released tracks Can’t Say No, Vegas Girl and Turn Around.  Conor gave an energetic performance but the overpowering bass meant it wasn’t easy to hear his excellent voice.  He dropped the mood to a more mellow vibe when he sang acoustic versions of Daft Punk Get Lucky and Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia. This was a beautiful twist in his set and more in line with Conor’s YouTube beginnings.

Straight back from Radio One Big Weekend, Katy B seemed delighted to be back on home ground as she opened with her well-known track Broken Record. Other favourites were Lights On and On a Mission. Katy performed tracks from her latest Danger EP and kindly gave a shout out to Jessie Ware as she sang her parts of their collaboration of Aaliyah.  Setting up the crowd, she asked if there were any Aaliyah fans before covering hits Try Again and More than a Woman. Both covers were well executed and surprising suited her.

Headline act Rita Ora took to the stage in knockout face-printed jeans and red top combo.

(Credit to @alwaysrocnation for the picture)

Ora brought her set to life as she performed her album with some raunchy moves and new co-dancers.  After Rita’s fourth track she charismatically confessed that her flies had been undone during her high energy performances of Radioactive, Facemelt, Love and War and Hot Right Now and we could expect this to make the papers in the morning.  Rita not only was on point vocally but oozed confidence as she banged drums that were attached to shopping trolleys, albeit with gold paint and red handles and therefore having more appeal than your average supermarket model.

Delighted with the reception of the crowd, Rita performed some new material.  The track is slightly different to her currently released tracks with a more enhanced R&B sound.  The hook ‘head over heels outta love’ is very catchy indeed.

Overall, the line-up didn’t have a strong gay focus with the artists chosen, and the festival was held together by the good fortune of the sunshine and a strong headliner. The festival might attract a larger audience by the choice of more flamboyant artists, such as the glitter crazy Kesha, which better tap into the gay market.

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Rita Ora: Mastercard Priceless Gig


Rita Ora: Mastercard Priceless Gig

Cafe De Paris, London,  23rd May 2013

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Last night courtesy of Mastercard, 300 competition winners got the chance to witness Rita Ora perform in one of London’s hottest venues Café De Paris.  This club was the perfect setting to give fans the intimate one-off experience that MasterCard deemed would be Priceless!

Two backing singers entered the stage wearing Aztec dresses but seemed alarmed when Rita did not follow.  Doing their best to hold the crowd’s anticipation with an extended intro to opening track Radioactive, Ora took a late but impressive strut onto the stage via a spiral staircase. Wearing poker straight yellow locks, Ora’s signature look was nowhere to be seen; her new look oozed confidence as she later busted out some sassy moves on a stage which felt no bigger than a postage stamp!

The hour set list meant Rita performed most of the tracks from her current self-titled album ORA. One lucky crowd member got their priceless moment when she took their fan-made jacket with Party and Bulls**t printed on the back and wore it as she sang her no1 single How we do.

She also surprised fans with an exclusive new song which she joked she wasn’t meant to do. The new track named Head over Heels has an R&B sound, which had everyone dancing and clapping along. Ora seemed to have won over her ‘Ritabots’ as they screamed in delight.

Overall, MasterCard and Rita certainly achieved an evening of priceless moments that were enjoyed by the crowd.

Rita is headlining As One in the Park Festival this Sunday where we are once again hoping to see those dance moves in full swing.

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Leona Lewis: Glassheart Tour

Leona Lewis: Glassheart Tour

Royal Albert Hall, London,  9th May 2013

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2006 X factor winner Leona Lewis performed at the Royal Albert Hall for two consecutive nights. In an attempt to make her latest album Glassheart come alive, she performed a mixture of songs against a reflective geometric background.

Lewis hit the stage in a striking red dress and her hair swept back in a high 80s style ponytail. She opened with Come Alive; however a mesh drape curtain obscured the view until mid-track and meant the crowd reaction was slow off the mark.  Nonetheless her talent started to shine through performing her first single, A moment like this, released a staggering seven years ago. Lewis was in her comfort zone singing this power ballad effortlessly and showing the 10,000 capacity venue exactly why she was worthy of the X factor Crown!

However when she swapped her traditional ballads for up tempo dance tracks Forgive Me and a reggae mash up of Better in time with Rihanna’s track Man Down, she unfortunately came across more wooden than pop-star. She quickly followed this with a small intro to Ryan Tedder penned track Happy saying everyone should strive for their own happiness before rendering a touching performance.

An outfit change saw Lewis return to the stage in a pearly white cut-out dress to Trouble on the piano. This new dimension came as a surprise and seemed to have been a well-hidden talent from her fans. Next Lewis performed a cover Bruno Mars track Locked out of Heaven claiming she hears it everywhere.  Whilst she managed to do the track justice the cover choice could have been more challenging for a lady with such strong vocal ability.

The highlight of the show came when Leona belted out her most famous single Bleeding Love which then led us to the encore of the show. Returning to the stage she sang album title track Glassheart where Leona played the drums. This track is ultimately the strongest from her current album and easily should have been the lead single. The crowd at this point were wild as Lewis gave her final and enthusiastic performance of Snow Patrol’s track Run with a gospel choir. It is clear that Lewis has charm and vocal ability that should still be given credit.  However, with a growing market of strong female artists, Lewis needs to write a track that maybe is a little outside of the box to get noticed.

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Beyoncé : The Mrs Carter Show

Beyoncé: The Mrs Carter Show

London 02 Arena,  5th May 2013

*****

Beyoncé and her hotly anticipated Mrs Carter show hit London’s O2 Arena last night. With a number of successful chart toppers under her belt and recently becoming the new face of H&M and Pepsi, it’s safe to say Beyoncé is back in the spotlight since the birth of Blue Ivy in January of 2012.

The show was filled with fireworks, dancers and numerous costume changes making it a true spectacle. With a massive 25 track set listing, Queen Bey manages to blow everyone away; opening with Run the World Girls and then continuing to belt out emotional ballads such as Flaws and All, 1+1 and hip-moving booty-shaking track Freakum dress- it is clear Beyoncé is a world class performer.

The best part of the show was the zip-wire transition to her famous Bey Stage where if you have a spare $950 you could get up close and personal with the superstar; Dressed in a skin tight purple cat-suit she sang three hits in quick succession: Irreplaceable, Love on Top and Countdown.

The surprise of the night came when Beyoncé sang “Grown Women.” The crowd was alive to witnessing a slice of new material.

beyonce grown women

The track has a similar vibe to Independent Women from Beyoncé’s Destiny’s Child days and now as a solo artist it’s clear that just like her song lyric states she can walk with a vengeance! Watch out this track definitely has summer anthem stamped all over it.

Tonight Beyoncé will be performing at Manchester MEN Arena. If you still haven’t seen her, get yourself down for some Queen B mania!

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