Gig review: Katy B - XOYO, London
Tuesday 08 October 2013
At Katy B's first headline show in London for "like a year or something", the singer excitedly announced that her second album will be called Little Red, before singing a tempting selection of the new album's tracks.
After a short stint from Rinse FM's crew of DJs, the flame-haired singer took to the stage with a double hitter of "Aaliyah" and the first single of her new album, "What Love is Made Of".
Clutching her sparkling microphone, she asked the crowd, "Would you like to hear songs from my new album?" to a resounding cry of, "Yes!" "It’s called Little Red," she said, exclaiming how good it felt to say that before going into the crisp and minimal "Next Thing".
Throwing up her hands and high-fiving the crowd, Katy B was involving and likeable. Her sense of fun was twinned with her unbelievable vocal control: pitch-perfect and effortless she swooped, trembled and held notes easily over juicy breakbeats.
The Mercury-nominated singer went on to play "Sapphire Blue", written with Jacques Greene and "All My Lovin", a noirish dance track that tones down producer Joker's harsh, bass-heavy sound.
"Crying For No Reason" was the highlight of the night, as Katy B scrupulously avoided the kind of melismatic over-singing that’s so common thanks to TV talent shows. The inevitable ballad was, however, surprisingly heartfelt, fitting strangely well with the night's half-beat club hits.
New single "5AM" captured those lost-in-the-moment dance floor reveries, with Katy B almost uniquely writing pop music about clubbing as a pop singer who's actually been to a proper nightclub.
While the night was dedicated to the new album, Katy B let rip with her two big hitters "On A Mission" and a sped up "Lights On", ending in an odd but perfectly pitched instrumental choice of D'Banj's bum-wobbling Afro-beat-meets-hip-hop "Oliver Twist".
As Katy B's debut album On a Mission worked to show off her knack for weaving together her credible roots and influences with popular trends, the glimpse of Little Red suggests she's managed to do it again.
Not only has she matured as a performer, but also in her ability to control the producers she works with, using her voice to pin down their extremes and uncover the best of her hook-laden, melodically rich pop.
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Britain's first cinema flickers back to life following £6m refurbishment
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
Fifty Chefs exhibition: Photographer Katie Wilson documents the injuries sustained on the culinary front line
James May hints Top Gear days are over following Jeremy Clarkson's BBC exit
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew