Katy B, KOKO, London

Beaming, bouncing, and barely stopping to breathe all night.

Rating:

Camden’s grand old theatre resembles a night at the opera, and mere weeks on from hitting the number one album spot with ‘Little Red’, Katy B puts on a vibrant hometown show in the welcoming, and suitably scarlet, venue.

There’s also an expectedly clubby vibe, for a setlist of dance-laced pop, but with most of ‘Little Red’ on show there are plenty of ballads alongside the bangers too. Dressed to suggest casual elegance in front of a (big red) backdrop with her name etched out, Katy kicks off with ‘Hot Like Fire’, priming the already hyped crowd for more. Sold out and rammed to the rafters, with arms flailing over the balconies and bodies spilling onto the stairs, the audience hang onto every word. Dedicating ‘Easy Please Me’ from ‘On A Mission’ to all the singletons, gets everyone moving – coupled and uncoupled alike – to garage-tinged R&B, while her superb quartet of backup dancers pump it up, as they do throughout the more uptempo moments of her set.

The slower songs, such as ‘Tumbling Down’ or ‘Crying For No Reason’ stand out by their acoustic renditions, and allow her authentically gorgeous voice do the talking: no OTT vocal gymnastics needed here, thank you. But the re-workings don’t stop there. Paying tribute to her influences, Katy deftly weaves in homages to classic 90s dance; d’n’b power ballad ‘Broken Record’ turns into a medley of rave, funky and house with Baby D, MJ Cole and Tina Moore thrown into the mix, and gets a big reaction, much to Katy’s delight.

But the biggest surprise is Ms Dynamite grooving onstage midway through the ragga-flecked finale of ‘Lights On’ to shoot her rapid fire verse, before going into recent collaboration ‘Dibby Dibby Sound’ – and the whole place goes mental. Beaming, bouncing, and barely stopping to breathe all night, Katy can give herself a well-deserved pat on the back for giving the 24-hour party people here something to really rave about.

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