Zak Abel at Koko
Pounding music blares out of the speakers, with gig-goers crammed in. As the lights go off, hyping everyone up, it is clear British singer-songwriter Zak Abel, who first came to prominence after providing vocals to Gorgon City’s hit single Unmissable, is adored by many.
All I Ever Do (Is Say Goodbye) from 2017 debut album Only When We’re Naked gets everyone screaming wildly, from what sounds like a majority of teen girl fans. It is not surprising that this seems the demographic, as Abel’s music is a blend of saccharine vocals, romantic lyrics and delectable pop hooks, easy to dance to. The instruments, a mix of guitar, drums and keyboards, are well played and acoustically sound, but what lets this down are the vocals, which are on a volume too high, rendering them a little squeaky.
These Are the Days from 2015 EP Joker Presents Zak Abel, picks up the atmosphere and shows off the performer’s ability to effortlessly mix soul with dance music, whilst Alchemy is another change of styles, displaying a more garage vibe to it. The singer knows exactly what his fans desire, playing an acoustic version of Flow, from 2015 EP One Hand on the Future. When Awakening is played it produces an uproarious football stadium atmosphere – chanting from the audience generating a real spirited togetherness.
Make You Love Me is a classic Abel tune, romantic and with a catchy optimistic chorus. However, the highlight and surprise of the evening is when his guest appears, none other than pop star Sinead Harnett. Together they perform a beautiful cover of Childish Gambino’s Redbone.
The last tracks of the night present the singer as an earnest young man, as he goes on to describe his personal journeys in love, fitting in with Deserve to Be Loved, a heartfelt ballad. Unstable, one of this artist’s most popular tunes, is definitive of the group of young male singer-songwriters who came out of the pop scene in recent years, such as Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes and Sam Smith. Though Abel’s vocals and instrumental arrangements are commendable, there is opportunity for his songwriting abilities to mature, which will provide a more unique set of songs, thus expanding his fan base and propelling him to new musical heights.
Photos: Kaitlin Behan
For further information and future events visit the Zak Abel website here.
Watch the video for Unstable here: