Live Review: Nando’S Secret Gig – London (April 12, 2012)
Walking through the bustling crowd and along the red carpet on Kensington High Street, you would hardly imagine all of the craziness before me was simply to get into Nando's. Shortly after the doors opened, the venue was already packed to capacity as the crowd watched the beautiful Cleo Sol get through her soundcheck...
As DJ Melody Kane performed her magic on the decks, peri-peri chips, ice cream and wine was being served around the room with members of the crowd murmuring, "But where’s the chicken, though?" Among the crowd, Stooshe, Master Shortie, A. Dot and Arnold 'Snakeyman' Oceng were spotted having fun on the dancefloor as we waited for Cleo Sol to perform. Just as Cleo was about to take to the stage to perform 'High', the chicken burgers came out of the kitchen – probably not the best timing. However, Cleo’s soulful, sweet voice managed to get the room swaying, her strong voice being fully appreciated.
Next to hit the stage was Tanya Lacey, who performed one of her first solo tracks, 'Letter To My Ex'. The song totally lacks that British grittiness, to her benefit; as she belted out the notes sounding as smooth and suave as an American R&B superstar. Dressed down with her hair rapped in a bandana, Tanya managed to look effortlessly stunning. The songwriter then sang Loick Essien’s hit single, 'How We Roll', of which she features on. She got the crowd hyped by leaving them with her version of will.i.am’s 'T.H.E', which the Bristol-bred artist actually wrote for 'The Voice' judge. Clement Marfo and the Frontline also took to the stage on the night, bringing a heavier sound with plenty of bass and guitars.
The closing act for the night was up-and-comer, Conor Maynard. He kicked off his set by asking if anyone likes Drake, a cleverly safe option. He then burst into song, performing his version of 'Crew Love', followed by 'Marvin's Room'. Getting the crowd singing along, he then went on to perform the hit that has given him comparisons to Justin Bieber, 'Can’t Say No'. When the girls by the stage eventually stopped whooping and hollering (the sound is still ringing in my ears) Conor left the stage to join the dancefloor, leaving the crowd to shut down the club restaurant to heavy hip-hop.
Words: Maz Khan (@MazHalima)