NME/Radio 1 Stage
Much has been scribed about Kele Okereke's decision to go solo. Citing a break from Bloc Party, Kele's solo album has proved a departure but little has been seen of his live performance. Now he finds himself out of his comfort zone with a new backing band but finally with his name in lights. Well, his first name in a small neon sign above the drumkit.
His performance to a packed NME/Radio 1 Tent was expectantly confident with the brash 'Walk Tall' as an opening victory march to throbbing electro. The solo project had clearly energised him as a frontman as he urged the crowd on to triumphant beats then jogging on the spot. 'On The Lam' was far more relaxed but no less engaging with an involving summer calypso vibe until stirring synths and scattergun drumming to Kele's lingering vocals. Cast aside from his indie past, this was a lesson in stupefyingly brilliant electro; from the simmering 'The Other Side' and Kele's stunning vocal range over emphatic refrains to the bellowed, addictive chorus of 'Everything You Wanted'.
Alas, the past could not be forgotten as Kele then delved into his back catalogue and brought out a medley of 'Blue Light', 'The Prayer' and 'One More Chance' to rapturous acclaim. The crowd could rightfully expect the hits but it seemed a shame to fall back on such already celebrated material. Though he did find time to include 'Tenderoni' and another impressive falsetto before joining his adoring fans by leaping offstage at the track's climax. As a final treat, his choice of closer was another Bloc Party track but after hearing 'Flux', few would argue that the departure was that marked at all. Few were complaining either.