If you were in London on the 17th January, there was only one place to be that night and that was at the Miguel concert at The Forum. Observers were certainly treated to the performance of a lifetime.
Before he emerged, Manchester’s very own Daley took to the stage to deliver a solid opening set. Maxwell’s ‘Pretty Wings’ provided a captivating beginning to the show with just a simple acoustic guitar playing, letting Daley’s voice being the main focus as fans waved their hands from side to side singing along in a kumbaya-esque moment. The set list also included songs from his mixtape ‘Those Who Wait’ such as ‘Game Over’, ‘Alone Together’, the title song which was re-imagined as a subdued neo-soul track with a slow-burning groove and his debut single, the Jessie J-assisted ‘Remember Me’.
The promising artist also offered the fans an exclusive with a performance of forthcoming single ‘Broken’ which definitely sounds like it could be his breakthrough hit. However the most notable moment of the show was his performance of interlude ‘Love Lost’ where the song was transformed from its acapella origin to a progressive sounding affair with a medley of Frank Ocean’s ‘Thinking About You’ & Usher’s ‘Nice & Slow’. The end result was one of raucous cheer & delight from the audience but crowd excitement & hysteria reached its peak when the song was segued into a rendition of Usher’s ‘Climax’ taking its original quiet Storm & electronic flourishes to new heights with soaring mid-belts & wondrous utilization of his falsetto backed by a bass-heavy arrangement.
Is Daley the future of UK R&B? I think so.
Daley certainly warmed up the crowd but my only critique was that his set was too short, puzzling considering he had more material to offer. Despite performing with what seemed to be a relatively quiet confidence, he only really interacted with the audience when introducing himself & the songs.
It was now time for the main event…
Almost two years had passed since Alt-R&B lothario Miguel had performed at Kentish Town’s signature music venue, The Forum. In the time span since his last concert there he had released his faultless sophomore album ‘Kaleidoscope Dream’ to universal acclaim, garnered numerous hit songs including two number one singles and last but not least finally earned some long overdue Grammy nominations. With all these achievements under his belt, Pimentel realised it was time make a return to British soil and exhibit to his numerous female admirers how much he’s progressed as a musician, entertainer & vocalist and trust me when I say he delivered. If you ever in doubt about the extent of Miguel’s popularity in the UK, all those doubts certainly retreated because despite his lack of a major hit in the UK, it’s clear he has a very loyal & devoted following in this territory. Following only a mere 5 minutes after Daley had exited the stage, oodles of females fans were getting extremely impatient as staff were seen arranging the stage for the spectacle we were about to witness. “Miguel Miguel Miguel” was chanted in a wild manner, reaching an enormous roar when a man who seemed to don Miguel’s signature hairstyle only turned to be his guitarist causing the boisterous screams to swiftly (and hilariously) calm down.
Strobe lights appeared, the track ‘Kaleidoscope Dream’ began blasting and the band started playing the rock-influenced intro. Miguel then entered the stage jumping & swirling & proceeded to begin singing ‘Strawberry Swing’ … however no sound came out of the microphone. This technical difficulty eventually was rectified but Miguel didn’t want to continue with the show after an awkward start so he tells the band to stop playing and says “Okay, I’m gonna pretend I didn’t see you and you’re going to pretend you didn’t see me so let’s do this again”. The lights switch off, Miguel momentarily vanishes and the band start playing again with Miguel making an electrifying entrance as if nothing ever happened – the mark of a true showman. After the closing of the first song, Miguel took a breather to welcome the audience wishing everyone a happy year of prosperity & success. To the snowstorm of screams throughout the show, Miguel twisted and turned to an array of his oldest & newest material such as ‘How Many Drinks’, ‘Sure Thing’, ‘All I Want is You’, ‘Arch & Point’ & ‘Do You’ which was re-envisioned as reggae ditty meshed with Bob Marley’s ‘Stir It Up’.
Taking advantage of the sexual & heartthrob image that’s been afforded to him since his 2010 debut, Miguel dimmed the lights to create a more sensual setting as he passionately sang the carnal ‘Pussy Is Mine’ with his stage presence taking massive influence from the book of his idol Prince, from the simulating sex on the floor to taking his shirt off & even going as far to tease his ‘area’. Female screams reached fever pitch and were undoubtedly in a frenzy which was only heightened when Miguel hilariously asked “Whose pussy is mine London?” to energetic & animated reactions.
The concert then took a somber mood as Miguel channeled ‘What’s Going On’ era Marvin Gaye as he delivered a sincere speech about global conflict & instability in the economic & political systems fittingly serving as a intro for the socially conscious ‘Candles In The Sun’ which was performed with an emotionally convincing vocal performance that had authoritative belts just coming out with an unparalleled ease.
During the second half of the show he teased the song everyone undoubtedly was waiting for – ‘Adorn’. TWICE. He did an excellent job of raising everyone’s spirits then bringing it down by transitioning into another track but when he finally did sing the song the atmosphere was indescribable with the crowd singing along with word for word as he shuffled, strutted & delivered a brilliant performance. Even the men who wanted to keep quiet & still to maintain their chilled and nonchalant reputations couldn’t help but sing along.
The entire concert from top to bottom was exceptional. Miguel is definitely someone I will be looking to see every time he returns to London. It was simply a great presentation of fearlessness, vulnerability, soulfulness and insane talent.
Written By Sope Soetan (@SopeSoetan)
If you haven’t checked out my interview with Daley you can check it out here.