Sway Clarke II at Notting Hill Arts Club
When Sway Clarke II hits Notting Hill Arts Club’s stage late Wednesday evening it is with a brittle voice that he opens the ﬁrst song. Declaring he “just wanna love ya”, completely out of tune, he does not make a great ﬁrst impression. This goes on for a couple of songs, until what seems to be a problem with the monitor system is resolved and the quality is slightly improved. Some nerves also seem to have played a role, as his voice slowly gets steadier throughout the set. When he ditches the guitar midway and sings a slower ballad a capella it is for the ﬁrst time that night he makes an impression. From there on the show slowly takes a better turn.
Despite the foul start, Sway Clarke II manages to even out his performance and make it a decent gig, largely thanks to an energetic approach and the support from his vigorous band. The bassist/guitarist/synth player is almost entertainingly passionate and, along with the lead singer himself, gives life to the show. The energy and stage presence of these Canadian boys is not something anyone can complain about.
The singer’s hip-hop inspired R’n’B pop sometimes drags the mind to Frank Ocean and the like. Playing one of his own songs, I Don’t Need Much, alongside a surprisingly good cover of Kendrick Lamar’s Swimming Pools (Drank), you can hear how his music would ﬁt the scene. Clarke’s work is far from original, but it seems to be garnering strong interest, considering the big group of people leaving the place when he is done, despite the fact there are still exciting bands to come.
Sway Clarke II sings about how he one day will be rich and famous, and if the people coming here today, only for him, are satisﬁed enough to give him what he wants, only time will tell.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about Sway Clarke II and future events, visit here.
Watch the video for I Don’t Need Much here: