Michael Kiwanuka - O2 Ritz Manchester
Londoner Michael Kiwanuka has forged an impressive career in the once vibrant, now somewhat declining, singer-sowriter genre, and it was not that long ago when the likes of Ben Howard and Nick Mulvey were mainstays on the airwaves. Yet it's all gone a little bit quiet, and indeed it's been over two years since we last heard from Kiwanuka. But return he has with the beautiful Mercury prize nominated Love & Hate.
And it's primarily this album that the exuberant crowd at the O2 Ritz are treated to. Beginning with the shimmering 'Cold Little Heart', Kiwanuka's beautiful voice fills the room, entrancing the crowd who hang onto his every note. Though a man of few words, his easy-going charm more than makes up for the the lack of banter. The majority of the 90 minute set is new material with only a smattering from the 2012 debut Home Again such as 'Tell Me A Tale', 'I'm Getting Ready' and 'Always Waiting'. The songs all include elements of folk, jazz, blues and African rhythms, such as with the wonderful 'Black Man In A White World' from Love & Hate, with the audience clapping enthusiastically along. After a foot-stomping demand for an encore, Kiwanuka returned with a lovely tribute to Prince, who tragically passed away this year, delivering an impassioned rendition of 'Sometimes It Snows In April', before finishing the evening off with title track 'Love & Hate'. With Kiwanuka's trajectory on an upward spiral, intimate venues like this may soon be a thing of the past.
Cold Little Heart, One More Night, Tell Me A Tale, Falling, Black Man In A White World, Always Waiting, I'm Getting Ready, Rule The World, Final Frame, Father's Child
Sometimes It Snows In April, Love & Hate