Stepping into the spotlight
Labrinth - Live At KOKO, London

Many may be familiar with him as the producer behind Tinie Tempah’s smash singles ‘Pass Out’ and ‘Frisky’, but Labrinth is no longer sitting in the background. A year after releasing his debut single ‘Let The Sunshine’, 2011’s Tinie-assisted track ‘Earthquake’ proved the twenty-two-year-old singer/producer is an all round artist in his own right, entering the official UK charts at number two.

With his debut album ‘Electronic Earth’ finally due for release next month and the electro-inspired new single ‘Last Time’ on heavy rotation on the airwaves, the Syco records signee is currently in the middle of his first headlining UK tour. And despite many only hearing a handful of songs from the up-coming LP, it hasn’t stopped fans snapping up tickets, as the Hackney native takes to the stage to play a sold out show at Camden’s KOKO.

Following an impressive opening slot from south London grime MC Dot Rotton, the north London venue is at full capacity as audiences patiently wait for the main man to hit the stage. It’s 9pm and a dapper looking Labrinth arrives to the sound of cheers. Dressed in a tight fitted retro red suit and accompanied onstage by a live band, the talented music maker wastes no time getting straight to business, opening his hour plus set, with a drum and bass inspired rendition of ‘Climb On Board’.

While the audience are visibly entertained by the rising star, the performance gets off to a jolly, but rather calm start, as revellers pay close attention, absorbing the new material. However, as he gets stuck into the familiar ‘Express Yourself’, the atmosphere immediately erupts and goes up a few notches, with the flashing lights effects creating a rave-like atmosphere. New single ‘Last Time’ has crowds jumping up and down in unison and the singer appears a natural on stage.

Despite generally being considered a newcomer, Labrinth is full of confidence and the energetic performance is almost him making a statement that, yes, he may be a successful producer, but he’s very much a frontman as well.

Half way through the up-tempo set, Lab takes it down a few paces for a few minutes, getting his guitar out for an acoustic medley – showcasing his many dimensions. While crowds are intrigued by the new material, it’s the familiar songs which garner the loudest applause. A medley of his featured tracks ‘Pass Out’ and ‘Frisky’ have the concert more reminiscent of a rave than a music gig, but not to be outshone, it’s Labrinth’s own songs which harvester the biggest reactions.

Debut single ‘Let The Sun Shine’ has audiences enthusiastically singing word-for-word. And saving the best for last, the highlight of the night comes in the form of a spectacular encore performance of ‘Earthquake’, which sees the singer joined onstage by Tottenham rapper and fellow chart-topper Wretch 32 – a fitting ending to an entertainingly great show.

As an artist Labrinth doesn’t get the level of recognition that many argue he rightfully deserves, but with his debut album out next month and a successful tour under his belt, that’s all likely to change very soon.

Words and photo by Vanessa Laker

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