Live Review: Kenny Thomas / Acantha Lang -O2 Academy, Sheffield 22.04.2022

Jason Siddall

A trip to Sheffield O2 Academy last Friday, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I hadn’t seen Kenny perform for a long time, suffice to say that I was not disappointed.

Up first was Acantha Lang, hailing from London but originally from stateside New Orleans, Acantha performed a semi-acoustic set of soulful originals. With some great guitar and keys backing on offer from her stripped-down band. Acantha’s fantastic voice shone through, as did her personality which was engaging and appreciated by the Sheffield crowd. Check out Acantha’s music on streaming platforms to fully appreciate how good she is. River keep Running is the latest release, lovers of upbeat soulful tunes with great vocals will not be disappointed.

So onto Kenny Thomas, now anyone from Sheffield reading this who listened to Kenny’s music back in the 90s will appreciate it when I say that tonight was like a Josephine’s nightclub reunion! That’s not a bad thing, as that particular nightclub had a great reputation for playing the best soul and pop-orientated music back in the day and that is exactly what we had on offer tonight.

Kenny took to the stage with his stellar backing band of musicians opening up with Act Like You Know. The crowd immediately engaged and what followed was a trip through a fantastic back-catalogue including the voices album, with some very strong new material and some classic soul covers thrown in. 

The quality on offer both musically and vocally was nothing short of top drawer, Kenny’s voice is still fantastic and of note are his two superb female backing vocalists. The whole band were excellent and as a musician myself I really appreciated this.

The crowd equally enjoyed and pretty much danced and sang through the whole show, only stopping to appreciate some of the slower tunes. Kenny still has a big loyal following and it showed tonight.

Just on that new materiel, Kenny mentioned that he had been recording here in Sheffield with no other than Elliot Kennedy, who was actually in the audience himself. Judging by the songs played tonight fans should look forward to hearing these new tunes soon.

Finishing the show with the classic hit Outstanding, Kenny and the band returned for an encore with I Found Loving and the crowd lapped up every moment. A great end to a quality show.

If you like the music but haven’t seen Kenny live you are missing out, to really appreciate how good he is I highly recommend getting a ticket for his shows. Oh and if you are a book reader check out his autobiography Baring My Soul which is an emotional rollercoaster ride of the reality of life’s ups and downs.

Well done to all concerned a great night of live music.

Previous Live Review: Jordan Rakei / Ruti And Olivia Dean - O2 Brixton Academy, London
Next Live Review: Grandaddy And The Lost Machine Orchestra At De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea 25.04.2022

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