Alex Clare at KOKO
As part of his Euro and US tour, Alex Clare occupied KOKO’s stage in London and consequently engrossed the crowd in front of it. Thanks to the very popular Internet Explorer 9 advert which adopts Clare’s track Too Close, Alex Clare has been described as the “future of dubstep”. His 2011 debut album The Lateness of the Hour has found critical and commercial success and has been praised for its innovative and seamless blending of dubstep and soul.
With no introduction Clare walked onto a stage already fired up with ecstatic light work and percussion that the hyper audience was happily responding to with continuous and erratic movement. Clare joined this symposium by contributing his Donny Hathaway influence-laden vocals and beginning the night with songs from his debut album that leant towards the more soulful and bluesy side of things. Slow and simple bass lines paired with Clare’s tales of lost failed and abandoned romances caused the initially dubstep-hyped crowd to slow their movements and softly sway from side to side, absorbing the pain so apparent in Clare’s tremendous vocal range. Whilst the album versions of these songs are clearly more dance oriented with heavier and snappier percussion, the live versions heard at KOKO employ percussion not as heavy thus allowing Clare’s voice to take centre stage. To add to this Clare performed an excellent cover of Etta James’ Damn Your Eyes perfectly accompanying and complimenting the heartbroken mood of his other songs.
But it seems Clare had saved his body-warming songs for the last dance. As Clare leaves the stage temporarily we are left with his band who perform a short Reggaeton-type interlude paired with some more enthusiastic light work, warming the audience for Clare’s more “dubsteppy” tracks which follow. As he returns to the stage he brings the dubstep and drum’n’bass with him, now with feel-good tales of found romance. The crowd who were once swaying softly from side to side were now jumping fervently up and down. The break between songs is shortened to an almost non-existent length and the night ends in this fashion.
With a refreshing young artist like Seye opening for him Clare’s night in Camden was a smorgasbord of rhythms and vibes. Clare’s musical diversity makes for a diverse show as the audience become slaves to the lyrical and percussive themes but always sing along with the simple, yet melodically addictive choruses; addictive thanks to Alex Clare’s undeniably talented voice.
Watch the Internet Explorer 9 advert here!
Watch the album preview here: