The continuing popularity of Kiss as a live act demonstrates that live music is about a whole lot more than music, it’s about performance as well. On the London date of their tour the need for performance was made abundantly clear with support acts Low Leaf and, to a lesser extent, Zeroh delivering exciting and dynamic performances in stark contrast to the head-down more taciturn performance of Ras G.
After an Ethopian food related delay Zeroh hit the stage around 30mins after schedule and jumped straight into a set which veered between abstract hip-hop (think cLOUDDEAD), more jazz inflected cuts and one or two rowdier party tracks. Zeroh is a supremely confident and charismatic performer and shines most when he’s rapping, where he uses a variety of flows and voices to complement his more experimental backing. Unfortunately Zeroh spent about half the show behind his laptop triggering beats and putting them through filters, which was frustrating as when he was in front of his laptop he was a joy to watch.
Zeroh had warned us during his set that ‘Low Leaf has a special aura’ and he wasn’t wrong. Following a brief ambient interlude (courtesy of Zeroh) Low Leaf opened her set with a FlyLo-esque soundscape, crafted using a heavily processed harp, Ableton and keys. It was a compelling opening and an apt introduction to what Low Leaf does, an incredibly natural and intuitive combination of folk, R&B and electronics. It’s a mix which few other artists would be brave enough to try, let alone talented enough to pull off, but Low Leaf does it with aplomb. It’s rare to see an audience so enthusiastically responding to what, for most of us, was new material and a testament to Low Leaf’s rare talent.
It would be fair to say that coming after Low Leaf and Zeroh, Ras G’s set represented a significant step down in energy levels for most of the crowd. Whilst Ras was musically on point there’s not really much his set from a performance standpoint. Ras spent the majority of his set hunched over his laptop, sampler and mixer, only occasionally looking up into the crowd. His set was by no means a disaster but felt far more like a DJ set than a live one, his track selection got the crowd moving and his mixing was occasionally compelling but beyond that there wasn’t honestly a whole lot going on. However, despite a somewhat limited headline set the gig as a whole was super enjoyable – you’d be well advised to keep on Zeroh and Low Leaf especially, two young artists with huge potential.