Contemporary RnB singer-songwriter, Miguel performed at a rare London show at the Islington Assembly Hall; a performance that you couldn’t afford to miss.
I first came across Miguel when he released his debut album ‘All I Want Is You’ back in 2010. This dosage of contemporary R&B was ultra sleek and lust-inducing. So much so, that his melodies have become frequent entries on mid-night slow-Jamz list – If you know what I mean.
The eve of Miguel’s performance at Islington Assembly Hall when I found out I was shooting the Wildhearts singer. I didn’t know whether to be excited or nervous. My love for Miguel’s music is attached to his All I Want Is You and Khaladiscope Dream albums. His more recent work Wildheart is somewhat foreign territory for me.
However, standing in the press pit with camera in hand I waited to see the Grammy award-winning musician to lay down his self-proclaimed -“fly, funkadelic, intergalactic-hip-hop-meets-sexy-orgasmic crazy, dope shit.”
With his band wearing matching vintage Hawwian shirts, Miguel came on stage in cargo pants and a heavily pocketed army Gilet. Right from the start, Miguel’s performance is glowing with soulful pop – rock-like qualities. ‘Arch N Point’ leads the audience into a rock concert like hysteria. Bodies moving in sync with the strumming of the electric guitar. Sonic sounds not found in traditional Rnb record; not since the days of Geroge Clinton and Funkadelic or Prince at least. Miguel can create RnB gems with the slightest hip-hop influence like his inspirations; Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Frank Ocean and Prince.
Until about halfway, Miguel dedicated his live performance to his older records. An aroma of excitement captivated the audience when he announces the next song will be a taster of his new album. This snippet came in the form of a track called ‘Pineapple Skies’. As expected, Pineapple Skies highlights his musicality to perfection; producing a song that is not only fitting for your libido but a record you can dance along with also. Though this song is no different from Miguel’s trademark style, it’s reassuring to know that as far as his new album goes, we can expect much more of what we love from this artist.
Towards the end of the show, he began to talk to the audience on an introspective level. Communicating the relationship we have with music, more importantly, our relationship with music in-times of struggle. It was a pleasant pause from at times an overzealously, passionate performance.
After what was entirely in an intimate moment it was fitting for Miguel to sing ‘Candles In The Sun’. The grandiose synths gave way for “Is there a God? / Is he watching?”; a record about the fact that we were all born as equals, but don’t treat each other that way. It wasn’t until he sang ‘Pussy Is Mine’ when the temperature of the room hit its peak. Miguel’s reflection to a time of sexual fluidity was unsurprisingly a highlight of the evening.
It’s safe to Miguel’s live performance was an eclectic onslaught; it had elements of psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll and a soothing, soulful feel. But, the sweet combinations of instruments drained out his vocals.
Miguel’s enchanting falsettos should have dominated airwaves. Instead, they were interrupted by a need to be a rockstar; rather than a contemporary RnB singer.