Daniel Caesar at Koko
It’s a sold out event tonight at Koko, and the excitement is palpable. Every change of lights or pause in the pre-show playlist elicits a scream of excitement from the crowd, and it’s easy to see why. Due to his smooth-as-silk voice and ear for writing beautiful and relatable songs, Daniel Caesar has picked up quite a following since exploding onto the scene a couple of years ago – and his stunning good looks and easygoing persona have further ensured his popularity.
When he finally takes to the stage – having kept Koko waiting just long enough to whip up the excitement to a fever pitch – it’s clear to see where this hype comes from. Despite being pinned as R&B, there is far more happening in Caesar’s sound than any faded popstar or hopeful crooner could ever dream of. The hip-hop drums that seem to trip over themselves whilst somehow keeping perfect time, the jazz-inspired basslines that provide just enough punch to balance out the smoothness of the synth pads, and the psychedelic guitar riffs screeching through it all give his songs the kind of edge that is sorely lacking from so much run-of-the-mill, radio-friendly R&B.
Quite possibly the “best part” of the set is the aptly named Best Part, which allows him to strip back and give the concertgoers a glimpse into the way all of his songs start out, with just an acoustic guitar and his voice. This time, however, there isn’t just his vocals. Along with the three backing singers on stage, Caesar has a veritable choir in the form of the audience – who know all the words to nigh on every tune, and belt them out with almost as much passion and accuracy as the artist himself. Although most noticeable on the stripped-back tracks like Best Part, this unexpected chorus of singers from the crowd adds an extra dimension throughout the whole of his set, all the way from very early work – matching the falsetto vocals on Violet to blend perfectly with the twinkling guitars and warm piano chords – all the way up to the rousing synth-drenched finale of Get You.
Caesar is based in Canada, so he plays in the UK fairly rarely, but based on tonight’s incredible show and the almost godlike adoration from the audience, there’s sure to be several more members of his impromptu choir next time he visits.
Photo: Michael Gonçalves
For further information and future events visit Daniel Caesar’s website here.
Watch the video for Best Part here: