Gig Review: Kele Okereke @ The Louisiana
by Chris Thumwood

Kele Okereke | Photo credit: Rachel Wright, via NME

An intimate acoustic show at a famed Bristol venue is never a bad way to round off the weekend. Add some good company a terrific performer to the mix, and you’ve got a yourself great Sunday evening. At 8 o’clock when the support Cameron AG takes to the stage there are only a handful of people scattered about, talking quietly and sipping rinks from plastic pint glasses. By the time he’s done, the room is full and I need to crane my neck in order to see the stage.

Cameron AG played keyboard and sang his way through a short set of deeply personal songs. His voice is distinctive and the music simple, providing a pleasant opening to the main event.

"His familiar tunes are given fresh, revitalised meaning"

Kele Okereke (most famously known as the frontman of Bloc Party) stepped up to the stage and thanked us all for coming out to see him. It’s the last night of his current tour, but his excitement was palpable. This tour and his latest album have seen Okereke step away from the electro driven synth-pop sounds that featured in his earlier solo work.  

As a result, he stands before us armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a microphone. His voice is not that of a great singer - but it’s always in tune and his earnest enthusiasm more than compensates. We’re treated to a mixture of “songs I’ve written and songs I wish I’d written”.  He opens his set with ‘Streets Been Talkin’’ a song from his latest release Fatherland. Half way through the show he wryly asks, “is anyone here a fan of Bloc Party?” before breaking into ‘This Modern Love’, the cheer that greets this is among the loudest of the evening. Covers of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Landslide’ and Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ are unexpected and excellent.  He plays us a mixture of current and reworked songs from his back catalogue, it is beautifully done and his familiar tunes are given fresh, revitalised meaning.  This was an unexpectedly excellent acoustic gig from a performer i had hitherto only associated with indie-rock and electro-pop.

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