(Photograph taken by Chloe Newman)
It is Friday the 22nd of November at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town. Steve Lacy is making his final stop in London to bring his 2019 European tour to a close. There is a great deal of anticipation in the air; an anticipation that is relieved when he graces the stage in a lilac, two-piece ensemble. The smile on his face is infectious.
Steve Lacy began his set with a performance of “Only If”, the first song on his debut solo album “Apollo XXI”. His soulful vocals were reminiscent of the recorded version; a recurrent theme throughout the entire show. This was followed, as in the order of the album, by “Like Me”. He performed all twelve songs from the album with particularly memorable performances including “Lay Me Down” where Lacy began with crowd participation, asking the crowd to sing out the vocalisations that are repeated throughout the song. The trance-like effect of the song was intensified live, as Lacy embodied the very nature of the track, effortlessly uttering falsettos and wowing the crowd with a riveting guitar solo. “Playground”, “Basement Jack” and “Guide” (the falsettos on this were amazing) live were also a delight to listen to. Once again, Lacy’s vocal performance shone through with each song, alongside his dynamic stage presence.
A highlight from the show was the dimming of the stage lights as “Amandla’s Interlude” played and the concert venue filled with a beautiful stillness. After a quick outfit change, he returned to perform “N-Side” (one of my favourites) which of course got the entire crowd moving again. This was followed by the classic “C U Girl” and three songs from his 2017 demo; “Ryd”, “Some” and “Dark Red”. There was a magic to seeing such iconic songs live for the first time. Loving a song, having it on repeat and then seeing it performed well live is unmatched.
There was something incredibly inspirational about the evening. Steve Lacy is a 21-year-old, who sings, produces, is a skilled guitarist and has a Grammy nominated album. There is no doubt that his career trajectory can only go up from here and I look forward to witnessing it.