Do you remember that time a genuinely successful musician came to the Sugarhouse? Despite a few circulating rumours that he would just be playing a DJ set with pre-recorded vocals, and that brief Twitter confusion that he would actually be performing in Blackpool instead, Labrinth managed to turn up in the right place and pleasantly surprised guests with an energetic live performance.
The Sugarhouse was transformed for the occasion. The stage and graphic effects made it look more like a music arena – rather than the sweat-filled club that Lancaster students are used to – and fans packed themselves in, with many practically hung over the barriers near the stage to get a closer glimpse of Labrinth.
A series of up-and-coming DJs took to the stage as a support to the main event. Entertaining the crowd were Dave J, Electrotrip, Forthkind and Myth of Unity, who all played an eminently danceable blend of chart music and their own individual mixes.
So it was a big surprise when the man himself took the stage and was handed an acoustic guitar by one of his crew. He proceeded to sing and strum to a positively mellow acoustic version of ‘Frisky’; a song by Tinie Tempah, for which Labrinth lent his vocals, writing skills and production expertise. When producing this song, Labrinth dabbled with an old-school 80’s keyboard, giving it a trance-like element – so it was an excellent twist when he discarded the guitar and performed ‘Frisky’ to fans in the way that it was originally intended – with an urban vibe.
The night continued with another Tinie Tempah favourite, ‘Pass Out’, as well as Labrinth’s début single ‘Let the Sunshine’ and ,of course, ‘Earthquake’. When the opening notes of ‘Earthquake’ began, the volume and atmosphere of the club exploded, as guests screamed at the singer, and sang along to the well-known hit. It was a guarantee that this would be the song that changed the whole level of the night.
A far cry from the gospel music that Labrinth, real name Timothy McKenzie, grew up with, the music he has produced refuses to conform to any one genre, which is why he has caused such a stir on the hip-hop scene of late. The electronic-sounding vocals and mish-mash of drum & bass, hip-hop and electro were present on the stage at Sugarhouse. Labrinth describes his reasoning for creating his unique sound as ‘wanting to do his own thing’, and it’s clearly working.
The music was accompanied by Labrinth throwing himself dangerously around the stage, performing wall hand-stands and generally getting the crowd well and truly hyped up. And he did a very good job of it. He proved to be one of those artists that has the natural ability to relate to the crowd and ensure they are enjoying themselves. Let’s have more artists like this in Lancaster, please!