On 16 February Brunel University student Ajit Singh Atwal, 21, became the youngest music producer ever to stage a show at London’s indigO2 with a Valentine-themed R’n’B gig.
Though Valentines Day had passed, there was still a lot of love in the room for the three acts on the Bill: Silk, Kut Klose and Pamela Long, former lead singer of platinum selling group Total.
The UK support acts warmed up the crowd but it was the American stars of yesteryear that really turned up the heat. Pamela Long was up first and dressed casually in jeans, a white vest and boots, she launched into a brief medley of Total’s hits including What About Us, Trippin’ and Can’t You See? featuring Notorious B.I.G and Kissing You.
With only backing tracks and no dancers, some found her set lacking. But she really shined on her new single Dare to Dream, from her forthcoming album Undeniable, probably because the song was testimony to her journey to make it back to the charts.
Long’s PA was followed by an announcement from Orin Lewis of the African Caribbean Leukemia Trust (ACLT), calling for donations to raise the additional £30,000 needed to meet their £80,000 target to stay afloat. Rapper and Choice FM DJ Phoebe One was the Compeer gluing the show together. Things got a little sticky when it was time to announce the next Act. Silk had been billed as the headliners and the audience was expecting Kut Klose but unfortunately, there was a traffic accident on their way back from sound check which delayed their appearance. There were whispers about the delay being caused by a wardrobe accident but the audience had little time to worry about the cause of the change in line up once Silk, back in the UK after ten years, whipped them up into a frenzy.
With dynamic voices that have stood the test of time, Silk, (Tim Cameron, Jimmy Gates, Gary “Big G” Glen, Gary “Lil G” Jenkins, but minus member Jonathen “John-John” Rasboro) performed hits including We’re Calling You, There’s A Meeting In My Bedroom, Silktime, Lose control and the most requested; Happy Days and Freak Me. Dressed in all black, they looked slick complete with synchronized dance moves. Their pep was reminiscent of routines which sixties Motown groups would use.
“Lil G”, an actor as well as a singer, was the liveliest, constantly grinning, when he was not grinding the microphone or wagging his tongue, he was surfing the crowd. This was a particular highlight as he struggled to get back on stage only to be ribbed by his band mates when he finally made it back. Reunited, the guys handed out roses and teased the ladies by putting out a call for a female to join them on stage though for some reason, this never translated into action. The live band was constantly active and enriched Silk’s material. Their set was a reminder of the talent scouting skills of their mentor Keith Sweat.
Sweat also brought us the final act of the night Kut Klose who despite early fears did make it on stage. Lead singer Athena Cage and her band mates Lavonn Battle and Tabitha Duncan looked ageless in black and silver ensembles.
Relying on backing tracks they hit a few hurdles when the wrong beat played and there was a long pause before they got started. There were some awkward attempts to fill the gaps while members of the audience called for them to sing acapella. The backing track back on track, perhaps robbed the audience of a treat; such was the sweet power of their harmonies.
Though some members appeared to be chewing gum, they whistled through gems including I Love It When, I Like and Get Up On It. They left the crowd stuck on wanting more but there was no time to play their new single Let It Ring, ahead of their upcoming untitled sophomore album, nor old favourites such as Twisted or Surrender. With my appetite whetted, I am off to hunt for my old Kut Klose tape and something to play it on!
The UK Corner covers urban entertainment from a British perspective and is written by Fiona McKinson. She is a freelance journalist and creative writer based in London. Contact her at [email protected]