Tinie Tempah, The O2, gig review
Everything sits as well on Tinie Tempah as his shining silver suit
Monday 31 March 2014
If we’ll never be royals, as New Zealand’s frank-talking pop teen Lorde coolly informed us, someone forgot to pass Tinie Tempah the memo. Introducing ‘Heroes’, his chest-burstingly aspirational collaboration with Laura Mvula, he explains how he wanted it to be a Bond theme, “but that never happened. But some of you may remember me performing it at the Baftas with this amazing lady, and I leant down and high-fived Prince William. It just goes to show you you can do anything.”
As the title of ‘Don’t Sell Out’ and his stark concrete overpass stage-set attest, though, the odd reference to Moët or Claridges doesn’t mean Tinie’s forgotten his origins. In his preamble to ‘It’s OK’, he notes that “‘As an artist, where we come from, they make us feel like we're not supposed to be playing these venues - if it’s not about being in a club and having a good time… so I wanted to do some deeper, more mature music.”
The results, with Labrinth’s soulful sorrowing backing Tinie’s frank verses over pounding piano, are powerful. It’s great in the wake of Dizzee and Wiley’s dance-pop crossovers to have a fresh wave of artists combining dance, grime and pop for whom bangers alone are not enough, and both uplifting, stadium pop moments such as ‘A Heart Can Save The World’ and fiercer tracks such as the wobble-bassed ‘Trampoline’ sit as well on Tinie as his shining silver suit.
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