The night began with two incredible performances from Kai Kwasi and Ego Ella May. These are both smaller London-based Black artists who played for around an hour each. Their sets were vibey and fit well with Crookes’ R&B/Neo-soul style.
Crookes’ performance began with the opening track from her album, 'I Don’t Mind'. The atmosphere in the O2 Academy in Kentish town was buzzing and excited, it was a great way to start her performance.
At this point, I was unsure whether she would play her album in order, or if she would mix the songs up. She performed the latter and also included some of her older tunes as well- which were real crowd-pleasers. This included her cover of Kendrick Lamar’s songs 'Yah' and 'Element', as well as 'Don’t Let Me Down', and 'London Mine'. She also played 'Two Nights' which was very apt as she was, in fact, playing Two Nights in ‘K Town’.
Being in a room full of fans like myself made me feel very connected to the people around me, despite not knowing any of them.
While the musicians that accompanied her on stage were clearly of a very high standard, the stand-out moments of the show were when Crookes’ voice was centre stage, and the musical accompaniment was stripped-back.
Her voice is rich, smooth and married with her intimate, soulful and vulnerable lyrics. This night reminded me why I love her music so much.
Her new album tackles topics of race, skin tone, ethnicity and politics, and being in a room full of fans like myself made me feel very connected to the people around me, despite not knowing any of them.
She then performed some other songs on her album, the highlights being 'Feet Don’t Fail Me Now', 'When You Were Mine', 'Trouble', and 'Theek Ache'. Some songs were performed with the band, and others were more intimate, vulnerable moments, where she played on the piano. Between songs, she spoke to the audience sincerely and was incredibly grateful for her fanbase. She ended (of course!) with an encore, and played some more hits from her album.
It was such a great evening of music and vibes, and really celebrated her music, which tackle topics often left on the sidelines.
Let’s hope that in the coming years, she extends her tour to the Toon!