All hail ‘Cool, Young Lu’

Spotting only eight New Era caps among the sea of heads around me signalled that this was far from being the hip hop crowd that I had anticipated.

Instead, with an average age of 25 and cultural diversity across the board, this crowd were giving nothing away about their musical affiliations other than their outright appreciation for Mr Superstar himself. Flanked with a full band, Lupe’s sound was big, as was his stage presence as he rode the boards in style, kicking with a sweet toned swagger from start to finish. Most fascinating about Lupe live was the variety of sounds on show.

From the rock rap take on ‘Dumb It Down’ and ‘High Definition’, where Lu delivered goods reminiscent of LL Cool J in his prime, to the Big Band Jazz of ‘Paris Tokyo’, where he took more than a cue from the Pharcyde, Lupe and band had it covered. Letting our ears rest between the bands booming onslaught, Lu broke things up with some spoken word praise over piano jazz riffery, an accapella rendition of ‘The Coolest’ and some straight forward, strategically placed downtime. All the obvious crowd pleasers were carefully scattered throughout the set, with Superstar getting the peak crowd response as the penultimate track, but the biggest achievement of the evening was Lupe’s overall success at bringing the studio based sound of his albums to life via a 7 piece band set up. All hail the bigger, stronger ‘Cool, Young Lu’ who just couldn’t resist the onstage boast of his most recent accolade; inclusion in Esquire’s 10 Best Dressed Males.

Join us on VERO

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.

Follow Clash: