Many struggle to embrace the circular nature of The Roundhouse. Whether you’ve leant back in the comfort of your own home to enjoy the likes of Katy Perry, Pixies or John Legend this year, or have climbed up Haverstock Hill in your time, you’ll have experienced ‘hit and miss’ performances in Camden’s most unique venue. Despite that, the iTunes Festival 2013 guarantees diverse performers and intense live shows. If we took an hour journey from the North of the Capital South East, we’d find Plumstead, the birthplace of Thursday night’s main feature, Tinie Tempah.
“From old to new to new to old” Tinie regularly repeated his literal mantra for the night, aiming to establishing a balance between his breakthrough record ‘Disc-Overy’, and his forthcoming 2013 follow-up ‘Demonstration’. This inadvertently created a kind of surreal juxtaposition. The frenetic ‘Frisky’ coupled with his unconventional comeback single ‘Trampoline’ had both the tastes of memoir and fiesta. Though he’d soon resume leaping about the stage, scatting vibrantly and prompting a packed house to lean back and let their arms bounce, in the recessive moments, Tinie was illustrating how much difference three years can make.
The new material is constructed in an unusual manner; take ‘Don’t Sell Out’ for example. Its minimalist nature and unusual tune isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a pop producer, but that’s not a bad thing! How many David Byrne melodies circled about your head the first time you listened to Remain in Light? Whether there’s enough depth in the material and if his audience is likely to dig deep enough is another question, though it’s an amiable direction for the London-born artist.
There are striking moments scattered throughout the set: the ‘what’s that guy doing here’ that greeted John Martin’s contributions to the choruses of ‘Children Of The Sun’, the swarming crowd bursting into frenzy for ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’, ‘Earthquake’, however Tinie’s self-effacing temperament is a genuinely heartening highlight. This is epitomised by the ten-minutes he takes to thank and introduce his manager, and cousin, on stage for a grasping speech about their relationship, and to wish him a Happy Birthday – so we all sang.
As the confetti blasts and sweat pours, the evening’s swansong ‘Pass Out’ begins. When you consider how this piece – his debut single – is almost four years old, it surmises how instrumental Tinie Tempah has been in the Great British dance boom. This makes the change of heart and plight of self-discovery in his new material all-the-more interesting. It’s a Sisyphean struggle that often makes or breaks an artist.
For those unable to attend in person, all iTunes Festival performances will be streamed live to millions of fans in over 100countries via the iTunes Festival app, on the iTunes Store and with Apple TV so music fans can watch live on their iPhone, iPad, iPodtouch, Mac or PC and HD TV. The shows are also available to stream on repeat for a limited time. Check out iTunes for more details.