Friday 25 March 2016

On Stage: Michael Kiwanuka @ People's Place

It's been a while since Michael Kiwanuka released his impressive first album. Once I heard his music I immediately loved his soulful songs and warm voice. Ahead of his new album and extensive tour he's playing a few try out shows and fortunately one of them was in my home town.

Michael Kiwanuka at People's Place Amsterdam, March 23 2016

There's no support act tonight but who needs one when you have such an amazing band. Kiwanuka and his musicians are totally into the music, feeling every note. Old songs are mixed with songs from the upcoming album and they sound promising. The new album won't be very different from the first one I guess, it seems he has just broadened his sound.

This means that his classic soul sound that I like so much is still there, but he seems to be rocking more now and then and you can hear more funk and some African influences. His band knows how to handle this without problems and although Kiwanuka mentions they hear a lot of feedback on stage and even stops the band when he wants something to be fixed, from where I'm standing it sounds wonderful.

Kiwanuka's voice is clear and warm, almost soothing for your soul. His band backs him up brilliantly with lush organ and keys, bluesy guitar and a tight rhythm section, who know exactly what the songs need. From time to time the songs are stretched out, like the amazing version of 'Tell Me A Tale'. Sparkling solos and great grooves are added, with lots of dynamics shifting between soft and loud or up and down tempo. It all beautifully flows together and best of all the musicians are having a wonderful time as well. I can't wait for the new album to drop and I'll definitely be there again once he hopefully returns on his tour.

All Pictures

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