*In her black and silver unitard, Nigerian singing sensation May7ven (AKA Yemisi May Odegbami) and her trio of backing dancers were the only females to grace the indigo2 stage. With May7ven, who performed Number and Hands Up as supporting act, perhaps it was no coincidence that her business partner DJ Abrantee was the compere for the night. The boisterous host mostly kept the crowd onside apart from insulting those standing with jibes about being too cheap to reserve seats!
But those downstairs were most excited when J Holiday arrived on stage. Looking casual, Holiday sang You Should Be With Me and Back Of My Lac over backing tracks mixed by his DJ. Not for the first time in the night there was a tribute to Jodeci with Freak You. But Holiday struggled to take the audience back in time alongside his attempt to capture their attention in the present moment.
Without Holiday taking full advantage of his space, there was too much room for his entourage to distract. To the side were no less than three videographers of some description capturing personal footage.
His hype man was humorous as he mimed and wandered around the stage. He took initiative to grab posters from the audience for Holiday to autograph. But he was also responsible for launching the ‘missiles’, which flew into the audience and provoked desperate fans to fight over sweaty towels!
Singing the virtues of smoking, Holiday 27, attempted an ‘acoustic’ moment – over synthesised beats he sang Hydro and a snippet of Musical Youth’s Pass The Dutchie. Young girls buzzed as he teased them with a partial strip to the sounds of Mary Jane, before premiering the first live performance of Suffocate but the finale was most anticipated; his biggest hit Put You To Bed.
The audience was far from ready to sleep. While some scurried off to fulfill earlier Twitter requests for pictures with J Holiday; the rest of the crowd eagerly awaited Ginuwine. But the wait was elongated by the presence of Ricky Rush The Rook (and a third singer who shall remain nameless because the DJ came in too soon and an irritated Ginuwine did not have enough time to complete his name check) who sang R. Kelly’s Bump and Grind as they attempted to arouse the crowd. Despite their low mics they performed powerful harmonies.
Kicking off with Same Old G, Ginuwine wanted the fans to know that nothing had changed. From Stingy to Hell Yeah he displayed the same vocal prowess and visual enchantment, which has anchored his place in music over the last fifteen years.
Effortlessly, he worked the stage challenging the ladies to profess their love for him, but when their exclamations failed to meet the grade, he walked off. Back in all white, he launched into None Of Your Friends Business followed by So Anxious.
He reprised Jodeci’s Freak You, which then morphed into Those Jeans. Ginuwine’s set was short but sweet as a promotional vehicle for his latest album Elgin. He performed a cut from it – Drink of Choice – that in his own words ‘did not do what he had wanted’, but Ginuwine was understanding as he noticed that few people in the audience knew the lyrics.
Before departing the stage, Ginuwine acknowledged personal triumphs and tragedies – the subject of his new reality show, before paying tribute to the man who inspired his career – Michael Jackson!
Once he had his special white and gold trainers, the DJ played The Way You Make Me Feel, Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough and Billie Jean while Ginuwine danced and mimed. He continued the party vibes with his biggest hit Pony and left the audience riding on a wave of nostalgia. Though few embraced his offer of paying £5 to take a picture with him, Ginuwine still paints a portrait of an underrated performer.
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]. For more entertainment visit her blog: http://www.thetalentshow.co.uk/theukcorner/