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British Pop Sensation Labrinth Shines at London's Koko [Show Review]

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Multi-talented British pop sensation Labrinth has built a reputation for thinking outside of the box while innovatively mashing up genres to create a potent new brew of pop that's infused with his English gentleman charm. After applying his soundboard skills to other people's songs as a producer and songwriter, this self-proclaimed "musical geek" will unleash his much-anticipated debut album, entitled "Electronic Earth," next month in the U.K. It's an eclectic collection of songs that showcases Labrinth's rich tapestry of influences and interests that explore every corner of the pop spectrum.

European fans have already gotten a taste of what Labrinth is capable of. Back in 2010, he released his debut artist single "Let The Sun Shine" that was followed in 2011 by the flaming pop romp "Earthquake." This week, he released his new single "Last Time" that sets that stage for the release of "Electronic Earth" on April 2.

Last month, Labrinth kicked off his very first headlining tour in the U.K. to introduce people to his new music. Given his knack for electrifying beats and his vivid imagination that is reflected in his elaborate, sci-fi inspired music videos, fans may have expected a live show filled with pyro, lasers, video animations and other high-grade visual effects to bring his futuristic point of view to life on stage.

But Labrinth set out to accomplish something different on this tour. This show was not about creating a visual spectacle as grand as his music, it was about showcasing his versatility as an artist and musician. Fans saw Labrinth rock out on the guitar, hit the keys, play off his band members and interact with the audience that underlined both his innate musicality and growing confidence as a showman.

Labrinth kicked off his London show at the legendary Koko in Camden with the slinky, synthesized beats of album opener "Climb On Board" that was followed by his fresh new take of Charles Wright's classic "Express Yourself" that perfectly set the tone for the night.

Several other new tracks followed including the crunchy, rock-edged "Sun Down" that fits right on the junction of pop and psychedelia, and the acoustic "Vultures," a tune about perservering against the odds. ""F*** people that kick you when you're down," he told the crowd when introducing the song.

In the middle of his set, a playful and proper Labrinth took a moment to explain what drives him as a musician. "I like all different styles of music. I like dubstep, I like house, I like soul, I like everything. Forget styles, if you love music make some noise!" He illustrated his genre-free mindset with the performance of the catchy pop rock number "Treatment" and the soaring melodic "Sweet Riot" that both should be strong single contenders.

Labrinth smartly interspersed his set of new songs with bits of some of the megahits he worked on, including Tinie Tempah's "Frisky" and "Pass Out," and Professor Green's "Oh My God."

The artist received loud cheers from fans when he played the buzzing "Last Time" and the sparkly "Let the Sun Shine," some of his biggest hits to date. Labrinth concluded the evening with "Earthquake," the show's stomping encore with a cameo from rapper Wretch 32 that had the crowd on their feet and ready for more. It was a worthy conclusion of a night full of exciting, genre-mashing pop that firmly positions Labrinth as one of the most promising and most versatile new pop talents to keep you're eye (and ear) on this year.

Labrinth @ Koko Setlist

 "Climb On Board"
 "Express Yourself" 
 "Sun Down" 
 "Vultures"
 "Oh My God" (Professor Green cover - short) 
 "Treatment"
 "Last Time" 
 "Sweet Riot" 
 "Frisky" (Tinie Tempah cover - short) 
 "Pass Out" (Tinie Tempah cover - short) 
 "Let The Sun Shine" 
 "Earthquake" (encore with Wretch 32)

March 21, 2012 | Permalink