Miguel live at HMV Forum, London | Review & Photos

On Monday night, US R&B star Miguel took to the stage at North London’s Kentish Town Forum much to the delight of the mostly female capacity crowd. Before he emerged, a strong lineup of homegrown supporting acts all had their own chances to shine, warming up the crowd with performances of varying quality. The queue outside tailed around the venue and onto surrounding streets, and anticipation was high for 26-year-old Miguel’s first UK show.

Hot new talent Kaleem Taylor was the first of the support acts to hit the stage, delivering a solid performance, with room to grow. Jermaine Riley and Britain’s Got Talent finalists New Bounce followed, after which there was a short wait until Cleo Sol made an entrance, looking genuinely stunning in an eye-catching dress. The “High” singer ran through a handful of songs with her live band, vocals on-point as always.

The biggest crowd reaction amongst the supporting acts was reserved for Bluey Robinson who performed an excellent acoustic set, including well-judged covers of Craig David’s “Fill Me In” and Frank Ocean‘s “We All Try.” The South London singer admitted that he hadn’t been able to soundcheck, and repeatedly asked the crowd’s opinion on the sound, but he needn’t have worried, as he hit his usual high standards with ease and left the crowd delighted.

After a relatively lengthy wait and a countdown instigated by his DJ, Miguel followed his band on stage, looking sharp in a grey blazer. First, the positives: the show’s production was highly impressive – lazers shone out into the crowd, and the stage was covered in futuristic red light. Even Miguel’s microphone stand glowed red.

The singer’s vocals were exceptional, with his Prince-esque falsettos sounding particularly great. The band were tight, the energy was high,  and Miguel looked like he was having the time of his life on stage, which naturally endeared him to the crowd. Renditions of singles “Sure Thing” and “Girl With The Tattoo” were enjoyable and a re-interpretation of “All I Want Is You,” perhaps his best known single, was admirable given that collaborator J Cole (who brought Miguel out to perform the track at his own London show the night before)  was otherwise engaged.

As impressive as Miguel’s showmanship was, at times the show suffered from overindulgence, with a couple of tracks either pausing pointlessly for “dramatic effect” or else running far too long, perhaps as a result of a need to fill time. “Quickie” ran to nearly 10-minutes, accompanied by a lengthy one-man simulated sex scene that even Trey Songz might’ve considered overkill. Clearly though, these touches were geared towards the many women in the crowd, who were sent into raptures when the singer performed the explicit “Pussy Is Mine.”

Overall, Miguel’s first London show was a solid effort – he’s undoubtedly a great showman with an outstanding voice. In my eyes, he fell flat by offering too much filler and not enough substance. The show was poorly paced and a number of tracks ran too long, but based on the evidence of Monday night, when the size of Miguel’s catalogue matches his the strength of his stagecraft, we’re in for a treat.

Photography by @nilluthe5th.

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