Review by Hayley Clark with Photography by Gili Dailes

It was after a hellish 16 hour long coach trip to Paris when I discovered Curtis Harding. Tired and weary from making the trek to see Lenny Kravitz in the summer, before he announced the UK leg and I thought was my last chance to see him I threw heck to the wind and purchased tickets without regard to travel arrangements or how I’d feel when I already a heavy week of gigs booked in. However Lenny’s support was a ray of sunshine that woke me up instantly, his catchy lyrics and stage presence immediately caught my attention and the short set that won the audience over left me eager to listen to more of this talented young man and his band.

Curtis Harding, KOKO, photo by Gili Dailes_14

Disappointed slightly there was no Birmingham date, Curtis announcing London’s KOKO to perform a headline set made up for it. There is something about the Camden venue that is magical, the ornate decor and glittering disco ball hanging from the ceiling add to the atmosphere of the old Camden Palace.

London based singer songwriter ESKA was first up on the bill. Gracing the stage adorned with sequin encrusted facial jewellery and dressed all in black she took position behind an array of percussion instruments. As the music started to flow, her cosmic sounds captivated listeners across the venue. ESKA’s haunting voice fluttered between jazz infused with folk as she played percussion, cymbals and keys, on one track even playing a wind type instrument, and interviewing herself using a voice coder and taking on two different personas there was no end to the lady’s talents.

Curtis Harding, KOKO, photo by Gili Dailes_2

Curtis Harding, KOKO, photo by Gili Dailes_6

ESKA started off the night perfectly, a prime case of why you should get to a venue early as the support acts can be just as magical as the main act. Her innovative showcase and sounds and promise of new music soon left the audience in rapturous applause at the end of her 40 minute set.

The audience went wild as Curtis appeared on stage with his band, the singer is the epitome of cool as he appeared in sparkly shades and vintage jacket asking how the audience were doing.

Curtis Harding, KOKO, photo by Gili Dailes_9

2018 has become quite a year; supporting Lenny, the release of ‘Face Your Fear’ and latest headline tour the former CeeLo backing singer is gathering quite a following.

His soulful tone and sharp dance moves have the audience dancing from the off. The catchy beat of ‘The Drive’ and Curtis’s wild dancing grasped their attention as they bopped along. The silky tones of his voice are capable of being up there with soul greats as he entertained the crowd, whipping them up into a frenzy as they sang along to tracks like ‘Go As You Are’, ‘Need My Baby’ and album title track ‘Face Your Fear’. His showmanship rocks the venue with ‘Till The End’ taking on the persona of two lovers and then the energy spiked with feel good anthem ‘Keep On shining’, watching him is like a drug, so addictive.

Curtis Harding, KOKO, photo by Gili Dailes_23

Curtis Harding, KOKO, photo by Gili Dailes_16

Alternating from vocals to joining in with impressive guitarmanship KOKO heated up, cries of we don’t wanna go home filled the venue as ‘Need Your Love’ completed the 15 track setlist and the band left the stage. As the chanting persisted not being one to disappoint an audience the American frontman graced them with his presence for a rapturing encore of ‘Beautiful People’ and ‘As I Am’ whipping them into a frenzy as he takes the tour to Manchester.

2019 is definitely going to be this singer’s year, even though there were vivid bright stage lights throughout the whole performance they were all outshone by this awesome artist’s stage presence and all round talent. The album ‘Face Your Fear’ is available from all good record stores, go out and take a listen you wont be disappointed.

Curtis Harding, KOKO, photo by Gili Dailes_24

See the full photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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