Curtis Harding kicked off his UK segment at Electric Brixton last night. The last time I was there, I was seconds away from swinging across the room on a disco ball at ABBA Disco wonderland. Last night, it felt like an entirely new venue, more intimate, almost calming.
So calming that the band, minus Harding, discreetly entered stage. It took several moments before the crowd took notice and slowly erupted into cheer. As he joined them to the vocally bare yet emotionally loaded If Words Were Flowers, the crowd intensified, and got a taste of the performance to come.
“Welcome to my world”, mutters Curtis Harding before gliding into the same song.
It has to be one of the tightest performances as a band I’ve witnessed in a while. The bassist was contentedly motionless, providing the chunky building blocks for the rest of the band – like all great bass players. The guitarist was juxtaposed at the other side moving double time, and Harding pierced above it all with his heavyweight vocals flowing like a buttercup in the breeze.
The audience took their time to soak it in. I’m not sure if it was the nature of the music or the captivating performance that had everyone hypnotically swaying when Harding invited his crowd to participate towards the start of the show.
Nearly every song was a joyful combination of upbeat grooves and powerful lyrics glazed with a romantic warmth. The setup was simple, with two-toned colours lighting up the stage for each song to emphasise the talent spilling out from it.
We were unfortunate to be stood next to a pissed fifty-something couple consisting of a bloke who thought his 2ft tall bowler hat was cool and his partner who flailed her limbs freely, as if she were the only one in the room. A small man behind us threatened to bray Bowler Hat for blocking the view. We took the opportunity to move and tried upstairs.
It was up here that I was swept up in a bellowing trumpet solo that carried the same emotional clout as the montage epilogue to La La Land. I will genuinely never forget how beautiful it was.
Still stunned by the trumpet, we went downstairs to loosen off for their final stunts with the likes of Need Your Love igniting pockets of people dancing across the venue.
He treated us to As I Am as their only encore.
Now the crowd were eager- and that’s always how you should leave them.