Kwabs at Somerset House, gig review: Live performance disappoints after online success

He fails to project his thick, inviting sensuality out to the edges of his audience

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The Independent Culture

Kwabs is a young, promising artist with heaps of talent, but the opportunity to perform in a space as grand and theatrical as Somerset House feels sadly squandered.

Performing with the same over-the-top attitude as a Voice contestant, the captivating tracks released online – "Perfect Ruin" in particular – are replaced with something altogether more amateurish.

That rich voice is impressive and he can certainly hold a note, but he fails to project his thick, inviting sensuality out to the edges of his audience. Instead his vocals fall short and are frequently interrupted by his enthusiastic but breathless dancing across stage.

A devastating (in a bad way) cover of Arctic Monkeys "Do I Wanna Know" seems to be an attempt to come across as contemporary when his tastes and vocal stylings scream vintage. Perhaps Kwabs loves the Arctics, but Alex Turner’s wry, nasal sneers are a far cry from his own emotional appeal.

Highlights are the demanding "Wrong or Right" and the international hit "Walk", the latter with echoes of Aloe Blacc's "I Need A Dollar": where the soul in his voice blasts through, finally, and the crowd's full attention is deserved, and paid.

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