Live Review

Blood Orange, Village Underground, London

It’s a testament to Hynes as an artist that he is able to fuse together different styles to create something so stunning.

Dev Hynes is back in his home town tonight. The man with oh-so-many strings to his bow, producer / singer / composer / songwriter / general great guy, it’s Blood Orange’s first gig on these shores for almost three years.

Village Underground is packed. It’s hardly surprising seeing as the show sold out as soon as it went on sale - there’s even talk of tickets exchanging on the day for three times the amount they were sold at. Hynes is joined on stage by Friends vocalist (and girlfriend) Samantha Urbani along with various other band members. There’s a big screen hanging behind them on the stage playing various videos of New York City landmarks throughout the gig. Hynes has resided in the city for the past few years and his affection for it is evident tonight.

The polished sound of ‘Cupid Deluxe’ is still present live but it’s transformed in to something more visual tonight with the addition of Hynes’ fluid yet snappy dancing. There’s little between-song patter with just a couple of polite thank yous to his collaborators and the audience towards the end. Single ‘Chamakay’ is a highlight - tonight Urbani steps in to Caroline Polachek’s shoes and proves herself as much a part of the night as the man himself.

There are elements of 80s Prince in some of the funkier tracks and in a month where much of London’s music fans have been whipped into a frenzy desperately trying to catch a glimpse of the American megastar tonight we could well be witnessing a contender for his crown.

The slick and soulful grooves of ‘Always Let You Down’ with its repetitive “I can only disappoint you” refrain are reminiscent of those on the tracks Hynes produced for Solange last year and with the added vocals from Urbani the song’s emotion resonates around Village Underground quite beautifully.

UK rapper Skepta makes an appearance on ‘High Street’ much to the crowd’s appreciation. Hynes seems to relish in collaborations and tonight is no exception. Final song of the night ‘Time Will Tell’ sees him weave his way into the crowd to finish his performance. It’s a testament to Hynes as an artist that he is able to fuse together different styles to create something so stunning.

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