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Review: Labrinth Rocks O2 Brixton Academy with Fresh New Pop Together with Tinie Tempah, Emeli Sandé

Labrinth-emeli

 By Steve Siegel

Landing a headline gig at London's O2 Brixton Academy venue is a significant achievement for any artist on the rise and usually signals a sign of global domination to come. David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia both sold out this venue prior to storming American shores these past two years. More recently, fast-rising alternative pop rock group Two Door Cinema Club released a recording of their 2012 sold out show here off their most recent LP, "Beacon."

This past Saturday, British producer-turned-pop star Labrinth took his own star turn on this hallowed ground. Playing before a standing room only crowd, Labrinth ran through a substantial amount of material from his debut album along with rehashing a few classics, including "Pass Out," his Tinie Tempah production that debuted at number one on the UK charts back in 2010.

From the very opening notes, the London based singer commanded absolutely authority on stage. Labrinth fluidly switched between acoustic guitar strumming, on stage sampler manipulation, and even a little electric guitar shredding for good measure, all while showcasing his impressive vocal range and dexterous dance moves. Even a little stage diving wasn't out of the question, although the fans had been worked up into such a frenzy at this point that security was called over to retrieve him But it was no worry to the artist who told the sold out crowd, "I don't perform for my fans, I perform with my fans," to wild applause.

Even though Labrinth only has one album under his belt, the audience seemed to know nearly every cut. The whole crowd joined along for the sky-high chorus' of "Let The Sun Shine" and "Treatment," while the undeniable catchiness of "Last Time" was also an early highlight. Labrinth was also joined on stage by a number of surprising and well known guest performers. First, the stunningly talented Emeli Sandé emerged on stage for a pleasing live performance of her and Labrinth's current single, "Beneath Your Beautiful." Labrinth and Sandé traded versus while the live drums and piano provided a nice respite to the booming bass and techno synthesizers that dominated most of the night.

But the EMI-signed singer wasn't the only big name to join Labrinth on stage. Indeed the most epic performance of the night was the encore closing rendition of "Earthquake" which featured a few surprising guest stars of its own. Based off the earthquake inducing crowd reaction as soon as the songs staccato, grimey, synth stabs blared through Brixton's powerful speakers, this was the song the crowd had been waiting for all night. However, Labrinth wasn't alone in performing his biggest track to date. Joining him on stage were fellow collaborators Wretch 32 and of course, Sandé's label mate, Tinie Tempah. The trio of rappers bounced with unbridled joy while the crowd ate up their on stage antics.

After a big night of big hits and even bigger guest performers, Labrinth had worked himself—and the crowd—into a well deserved exhaustion. With "Beneath Your Beautiful" storming up the charts and his record label Sony/Syco looking for new opportunities in America, it appears that time is right for this multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist. (Review written by London-based guest blogger Steve Siegel. Siegel is a massive dance music fan and a budding DJ/producer. You reach Steve and listen to his own productions on SoundCloud.)

October 23, 2012 | Permalink