Tyler James at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
The sold-out show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire heaved with anticipation. Each member of the audience, an eclectic mix of young and old, seemed to be buzzing, eagerly awaiting Tyler James’ performance. A mind-blowing year has seen James named runner-up on the BBC’s The Voice and finally release his first single in seven years, Single Tear.
You’d think with so much media attention, Tyler would seize this second chance in the limelight – poor sales of his second single, Your Woman, in 2005, had him dropped from his label – but James instead looked nervous and fragile in front of his fans.
Opening his set with No Comedown, James seemed gripped by stage fright. He stood with his head down, occupying barely a metre of the stage. His audience were unfazed though; the chants of “Tyler” almost drowned out his weak singing. A somewhat more energetic medley of Blackstreet’s No Diggity, Lauryn Hill’s Doo Wop and his own first single Why Do I Do, almost saved the performance.
However, James still paced back and forth across the same stretch of stage, not once lifting his head or attempting to make eye contact with his audience. It was a promising and jazzy mix, but Tyler’s stage presence lacked the power to carry it.
In his defence, most of the audience were still enraptured, but a few stragglers did seem to be losing interest and the electrifying vibe of the concert, which had built up before his arrival on stage, was waning. New single, Single Tear, was met with rounds of applause and whoops, but a half-hearted encore of Worry About You brought the gig to its stale end.
For a concert that had such a promising start, Tyler James lacked the charisma needed to hold a crowd; his complete lack of stage presence zapped any energy his audience offered. The stage seemed to engulf James as he shuffled back and forth, thanking his fans profusely between spells of barely audible singing.
Hailed as the UK’s answer to Justin Timberlake, Tyler James does have the talent and the fan base to go far, yet his poor performance made the concert a wasted hour: definitely one for hardcore fans but perhaps not the best way to showcase his music.
Photos: Helen Parish
For more information about Tyler James, click here.
Watch the video for Single Tear here