You Make Me Feel Brand New.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Being the humongous gig whore that I am I have attended not un, not deux, but trois of MTV's Brand New For 2012 showcases, a series of live musical shindigs which highlight nine acts tipped to be the next big thing. My first was back in December where I was thrilled to see my canny chums Clement Marfo and The Frontline perform alongside Wretch 32, I did an ickle post all about it hereMy second and third outings took place on Tuesdee and Wednesdee of last week at Camden's KoKo and to say I that I was blown away would be an incredible understatement. Here's how it all went down...

Tuesday 24 January: Charli XCX | Lana Del Rey | The Maccabees
From the moment the tickets landed on my doorstep I wee'd myself with excitement. Sex wee'd. Not only was I going to be in the presence of the singing/songwriting seductress that is Lana Del Rey I was also going to be within perving distance of The Maccabees front man Orlando Weeks. Or so I thought. Pon route to the venue we caught wind that Ms Del Rey had cancelled at the 11th hour due to 'ill health'. Funny that, considering she managed to power through her Zane Lowe 'In Session' performance in one piece. Maybe the thought of another round of scathing reviews turned her tummy? No bother, the remaining acts more than made up where Del Rey was seriously lacking. Electro-pop princess Charli XCX was first up providing a pulsating, dubstep-inspired set that definitely saw her score some new fans, me being one of them. Highlights included Nuclear Seasons, a track littered with eighties keys, crunching synths and riotous bass as well as new single You're The One which saw Charli's natural punk-rock attitude ignite the stage.

The night however, undoubtedly belonged to The Maccabees. Although the ‘Brand New For 2012’ label seemed a tad strange, especially with the maturity of sound offered in their third album ‘Given To The Wild’, having been an ardent Maccabees fan since their 2007 debut album ‘Colour it In’ I was twisted with the anticipation of seeing them perform live. The set, a powerful amalgamation of both old and new, was nothing but pure class. The harmonious vocals of Child, Slowly One and new single Feel To Follow are met with the thunderous guitar riffs of X-Ray, No Kind Words and Lego as well as a few sing-along anthems such as Precious Time, Love You Better and First Love thrown in for good measure. Unsurprisingly the crowd lapped it up greeting track after track with a rapturous sometimes frenzied response. Particularly those taken from the back-catalogue which prompted a sea of hands, and sometimes bodies into the air, much to the dismay of the lone security guard stage front. The absolute standout for me was my all time fave William Powers. A song delivered with such confidence and gusto that I almost surrendered to the urge of hurling my tiny self into the evil eye of the mosh pit. Instead I settled for bouncing around like a complete and utter loon as per. Despite seeing The Maccabees headline Brixton Academy two nights later their faultlessly brilliant performance at KoKo holds a deep-rooted place in my music-loving heart. A little because they played as though they are on the brink of greatness. Mostly because I am certain that they are.

Wednesday 25 January: Delilah | Michael Kiwanuka | Emeli Sande
Sporting a figure-hugging canary yellow dress and with hair fashioned into the shape of a bow my current girl crush Delilah took the stage to open the final show of MTV's Brand New For 2012. I fell in love with Delilah, real name Paloma Stoecker, in December of last year when I attended her gig at the Hoxton Bar & Grill which I posted about here. Lets just say that her performance at KoKo did nothing to dispel my growing infatuation. Wowing us with an incredibly demanding vocal Delilah belted out tracks from her upcoming debut album From The Roots Up due for release in March. Aside from her two singles Go and Love You So she also treated us to the brooding electronic sounds of Never Be Another, the hauntingly melodic Breathe and even tinkled the ivory for Cinnababy. If like me and my partner in fatty crime Eni you cannot wait to get your mitts on her debut album why not tide yourself lover with a downloadable dose via Delilah's latest EP 2-4am. You can't say that Lolli don't take care of her peoples. You're welcome.

Next on the bill was the man crowned winner of BBC Sound Of 2012, Michael Kiwanuka. Kiwanuka's folksy-pop sound isn't usually my thing, and to be perfectly honest, it still isn't. However there is no denying this man has a raw talent. Full-bodied, smooth and soulful his voice warms your insides like a generous glass of brandy with a small drop of honey, neat. Accompanied on stage by a seven-piece band Kiwanuka executed a setlist brimming with retro, almost jazzy harmonies including tracks Tell Me A TaleHome Again and Bill Withers cover I Don't Know. Despite my reservations I soon found myself clapping my hands, swaying my hips and grinning from ear to ear with the rest of the crowd. Recently added to the line-up for US festival SXSW Michael Kiwanuka fills a niche feel-good shaped hole in the industry and more than deserves his label as 'one-to-watch'.

You would think that having seen Emeli Sande perform three times before my excitement at watching the Scottish singer/songwriter for a fourth would be dwindling right? Wrong. Charming and enthusiastic from the moment Ms Sande stepped out on stage I was captivated yet again. Tracks such as Lifetime, Where I Sleep and Suitcase were delivered with the 
incredibly passionate, powerful and energetic vocals that have rapidly become her trademark. Emeli candidly explained the experiences and meanings behind songs taken from her highly anticipated album Our Version Of Events which left the audience feeling consumed by her infectious positivity. Before blasting out renowned tracks Daddy, Heaven and latest single Next To Me accomplished songstress Sande invited us to participate in a medley devoted to her previous chart successes. Never Be Your Woman with Wiley, Let Go with Tinie Tempah and most recently Read All About it with Professor Green - how this remarkable woman has remained hidden behind the scenes for so long is beyond me. Sadly Emeli's electrifying performance had to come to an end and as we spilled out onto the streets of Mornington Crescent, still mesmerised by the BRIT Critic's Choice award winner's talent, it was evident that a star had well and truly been born.

Were any of you lovelies also present? Were you bouncing around beside me in the bowels of Camden's KoKo? Either way you should defo give a few of these artists a listen. Like, now. Ta.

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