Kwaku Asante took to Village Underground’s stage with pure passion and good vibes. Headlining a sell-out show for his loyal fans and friends, Kwaku chatted with flattery and charisma, the cherry on top of his poignant and soulful performance that enchanted the audience.
Bea Anderson opened for Kwaku in Shoreditch last Monday night, welcoming the audience with a selection of her originals, infused with Ryan Zaydner’s soothing guitar that duetted Bea’s rich vocal delivery. As if drawing straight from her heart, her melodies in ‘nauseous’ and ‘easy’ painted the walls with colour and love; we were hooked from the jump. As Bea and Ryan continued, the performer checked in with us, setting out to introduce herself and her artistry. The vibe was set, with a particular superstar moment when Bea performed her latest release ‘Pieces’ for the first time live. Her recital was fuelled with emotion and the room melted, strung on the vocal runs and purely expressive freestyle moments, Anderson’s performance was an excellent introduction to the level of talent on show that evening.
As Jerome Johnson’s groove carried the crowd’s heartbeat, Darrel Dew and Max Winter played with poise and anticipation for Kwaku’s soaring vocal as he began with ‘Scared’ from his latest EP ‘Wanderlust’. The venue was the perfect space for Kwaku’s listeners to gather and absorb his soothing tones and intimate narratives, the couple beside me cuddled into one another and friendly faces beamed up at Kwaku’s charm and personality that followed his opening track.
The vibe was reignited with a swift rendition of ‘No Place to Go’, another gem from ‘Wanderlust’ that enthused the audience as they sang along and fixed their eyes on the stage. A real highlight moment in this half of the set was Kwaku’s fervent performance of ‘Dust’ (2020 single). As a crowd favourite, we sang along in awe of Kwaku as he danced across the stage, his obvious joy from performing was infectious, I looked around me to see every person immersed in the creative expression that exploded with ‘Take you There’ and ‘Worth’, the beams of white and red light that cast across our faces illuminated his fans who seemed to forget that it was a cold Monday night in the midst of winter.
As the show proceeded, Kwaku delivered with vulnerability and soul, he cast a spellbinding allure over the audience in a way that can only be truly appreciated when experiencing his raw talent and stage presence in real life. As an in-demand artist, who has been itching to perform live since his impressive feat at 02 Shepherd's Bush Empire, Kwaku continued to thank his audience for their loyalty and support, his genuineness and temperament was a standout element of his performance, I felt this artist related with us in a personable manner, and despite the large venue, he held the space with poise for the entirety of his show.
As a nod to his earlier releases, Kwaku blessed us with ‘Illusions’ towards the end of his set. This song I felt transpired as a monumental moment for Kwaku, as one of his most successful COVID-era releases.
He went on to thank us again for following his creative projects with devotion and love, describing his journey so far as “crazy”, and not possible without consistent fan support. This fact became obvious with one of his final performances for the night, ‘Nothing to say’, an emotional track that I found particularly moving, the undeniable atmosphere being heightened by the sea of iPhone torches that Kwaku conducted, as the first verse rippled through the room.
The disbelief that the set was over stirred amongst the crowd as we hovered in the hope that Kwaku would return for an encore, and this he did with style and energy, covering Rhianna’s ‘Kiss it Better’ in his own individualistic way.
This was a real highlight moment for me, as was one of the most successful encores I have seen live, the song selection throughout the show was constructed with careful consideration of vibes, energy and crowd favourites. However, I feel the most compelling aspect of last Monday’s show was the enjoyment from the musicians on stage, it was an obvious translation to us audience members that Kwaku has a team of incredibly talented creatives around him, all invested in his artist project which, after seeing live for the first time, I can say is worth the investment.
Aside from being an all-around source of talent, Kwaku is an intriguing character whom I had the pleasure of chatting with for a while after the show. Some reflections I gathered from Kwaku and his band were that this show had been in the works for a while, Kwaku himself was anxious about his vocal performance and eager to showcase to fans his cathartic body of work ‘Wanderlust’, stating that “I had a lot of things I wanted to get off my chest, the industry can be very taxing, but with my band, it’s never taxing, we’re really close so tonight was a lot of fun”. And I can confirm that the passion and friendship among the performers were obvious and endearing to the audience, proving that the new wave of authentic and committed artists is a force to be reckoned with on the UK music scene.
Kwaku’s following is evident of his charisma and love for creating emotive and reflective music that has been connecting with many over the course of his first five years, dominating his field, Kwaku is moulding new sub-genres and musical themes that nod to future projects we can anticipate from this incredible artist.