Tag Archive: Tinie Tempah

Tinie Tempah + Katy B + GFrsh @ 02 Academy, 24th February 2011

for Fused Magazine with fab photographer Katja Orgin .

Tonight it’s down to the 02 Academy for The Man of the Moment – breakthrough multi-award winning artist Tinie Tempah. The big break came after a stunning performance at the Wireless Festival in 2009, with his debut single ‘Pass-Out’ UK Number 1 for two consecutive weeks and his debut album ‘Disc-Overy’ straight in at Number 1 in October 2010. He then landed umpteen awards including MOBOs, Urban Music Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards before the recent double at The 2011 Brits for best Breakthrough and Best Single. So is he worth all the hype?

Tonight’s audience is made up of 14-21 year olds, plus the odd group of older lads plus the odd mom, clearly playing chaperone to the littler people. As we arrive there a good buzz in the Academy and we catch the last 5 minutes of GFrsh’s 15 minute set. The crowd is waving along, to a heyho! rhythmn. GFrsh’s completed his stint with a pic from his smartphone, posted on his twitter feed @gfrsh to “say how good you are.”

Between acts, DJ Charlsey spins some tracks before the next 30 minute set from rising starlet Katy B. She arrives on stage to “Make some noise!” and a large scream from the audience. Unfortunately Katy B is somewhat uncomfortable on stage, a bit like a potential XFactor contestant. She has an okay voice, but with limited stage craft and even less presence, the crowd get bored and start talking, until they wake up as she sings her hit, “Lights On”. She’s at the HMV Institute on the 10th May. I would only bother if you really like her, there’s far better acts that are currently doing what she’s doing, and she could learn a thing or two from everyone else on stage tonight.

Another DJ Charlsey interlude and then it’s onto the man of the moment.  At 9.40 pm Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu Jr, AKA Tinie Tempah, takes the stage to a chanting rhythm. With a full live band including supporting rapper, all dressed in white hoodies, the audience responds with a rapturous scream.  The first two tracks he prowls along the raised stage in front of the screen at the back of the set, hood up – before announcing himself at the front of the stage, hood down, shades on, to sing ‘Wonderwoman’ (the soon to be released single with Ellie Goulding).

Tinie Tempah has got his stage-craft down to a fine art – he is hugely impressive live, able to fully engage with the audience, with a mesmerizing stage presence few possess. He speaks for a huge amount of time, I’ve seen spoken-word gigs with less words. “Thanks for coming out, this gig sold out in two days, thank you to you all.” He tells us his new song ‘Snap’ is about taking photos not video, but capturing that moment in time. “Get out all your iPhones, Blackberry’s and smart phones, I have a treat for you at the end of the song”.  The treat? He comes to the front of the stage and poses for photos, in the centre, then at one side then the other. He is clearly enjoying what he’s doing and clearly wants to give a huge amount back to those that have given him the success.

Then DJ Charlsey is back on stage. There’s a play off of mixes between the band and the DJ, with Tinie Tempah rapping over the tracks – the audience asked to make the loudest noise to choose between them. Both are tight – “Can’t decide – lets collaborate and do something crazy!” And off we go, audience clapping along with backing music that any rave would love.

“I’m feeling very emotional…” He then talks of going to the Brits in previous years, of meeting really big names, of how he met Ellie Goulding and supported Rihanna on tour, and of how emotional he felt when he recently took the two Brits at the 2011 Awards. “Thank you – each and everyone of you.”

A 15 year old girl is selected from the audience to come on stage, to do a mini recreation of the Brits ceremony. It’s her birthday, and he “presents” her with his two Brits and she stands there, made up, a Vivienne Westwood designed Brit in each hand. He talks to her and hugs her in between singing. He’s buzzing:“ I would bring everyone on stage!”

There’s a real vibe in the crowd, a full on party atmosphere. “Birmingham is one of my favorite gigs ever” as he dedicated his Brits to Birmingham. Free T-shirts, rubbed over all the band members are offered up to the audience – “Goes to the side who makes the most noise”. Then the last song of the main set, “Written In The Stars”, big and ballsy, with lead guitar in support.

Then onto two encores – the gig completed with the hit “Pass-Out” – pretty much EVERYONE is boogying on down….

Tickets for tonight’s gig, I believe, were £16.50. Checking out some online resellers – you could have added a £100 to face value.  This tour is totally sold out. And you would have happily paid double for what you got tonight.

Now I have to say, Urban Hip-Hop is not my genre. I’ve come along tonight to see what all the fuss is about. I’ve been to hundreds of gigs, so I kinda know when a gig is rubbish, mediocre or great. And tonight you were lucky.  This is one of those gigs, where you will be able to say I was there.  Because the next time you see him will be on stadia tours and headlining festivals. Because what we see in Tinie Tempah is history in the making. There is no doubt he will be a meteoric superstar.  Watch out Puffy Daddy/P-Diddy/ Diddy whatever your name is today. Watchout JayZee. There’s a new man in town. Tinie Tempah. From Plumstead. South London.

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Listening: 

Tinie Tempah – Disco-very (2010)