Lemar far from Invincible at low-key Hyde Park show
Lemar at BT Live Hyde Park, 06/08/12
London lad Lemar has been doing the festival rounds since he rose to prominence after 2003’s Fame Academy and seems a natural, uncontroversial fit for the Team GB love-in that Hyde Park’s free BT Live event is slowly turning into. His music is never going to inspire Ennis-like adulation, but he has sufficient charisma and vocal chops to hold the crowd’s attention with what amounts to a karaoke set of his own songs (his two-man band and backing singers are mostly for show), and even has the good manners and pragmatism to come on a half-hour ahead of schedule, presumably to allow for more athletics screenings later in the evening.
Apart from some hilariously tentative Olympics-based banter, Lemar’s crowd interaction is assured yet self-effacing – he acknowledges the absurdity of having to share the bill with big-screen BBC coverage, and dedicates a poignant If There’s Any Justice to “all the people who came here with someone they love, and everyone who’s come with a friend who they’re hoping to try it on with at some point”. His voice is crystal clear and he undoubtedly brings the hits to a small but appreciative crowd of devotees, including a rousing version of The Way Love Goes from his recent Best Of compilation.
New single and set-closer Invincible sets alarm bells ringing though, with its written-by-committee chorus and Coldplay-meets-The-Killers vapidity. It’s not a bad song, and works well in a festival setting, but it isn’t Lemar’s song either. For all his bravado and confidence, he comes across as far from “invincible”, and is actually at his best when a hint of soulful vulnerability creeps into his performance. Maybe that’s an over-egged analysis of what amounts to a glorified interlude in between all the televised sport, but if Lemar wants to build on his current popularity and nice-guy image, then the last thing he wants to do is sound exactly like everyone else.
For more information follow this link for Lemar.
Listen to the new single, Invincible, here