Norwegian tropical-house DJ Kygo’s unique brand of electronic music is in such popular demand right now that he had to stick around in London for an extra night, after every show on his European Endless Summer tour sold out at breakneck speed. Within the cool but cosy stripped-bare red bricks walls of East London’s The Laundry, on a cold Sunday evening, a crowd slowly gathered in front of a stage crowded with lights, screens and DJ decks.
Once people were arriving things started pretty quickly with the support act slipping innocuously onto the stage in a baggy sweatshirt without many people entirely noticing. Australian DJ Anna Lunoe was a good pick to start the night off, smoothly mixing music across genres with both a sleek professionalism and a look of genuine enjoyment in what she was doing. There were one or two barely noticeable slip-ups and Lunoe spent very little time speaking to her audience – when she did it was quietly and oddly shy compared to her confidence behind the decks – but overall she played a solid great quality set that would quiet any critic who claims DJ’s do nothing but play songs from computers.
After a pause to set up new equipment, lights turned on, screen lit up and the main event himself popped up from behind the stage, spreading him arms and greeting the crowd with a broad grin. Kygo opened his set with one of his best-known songs, a chilled remix of Ed Sheeran’s Tolkienesque “I See Fire”. It’s a very laid-back tropical track, making it seem slightly out of place in a crowd of very excited screaming fans and confetti guns, but the track was so thoroughly enjoyed by those present that it didn’t seem to matter much.
Fairly early on into his set Kygo brought out his wildcard special guest, British indie-pop singer Kyla La Grange, to provide live vocals for his remix of her latest single “Cut Your Teeth”. A hipster-mermaid inspired outfit and streaks of glitter adorned the young singer as bubbles were flooded out over the crowd and lit up screen sound underwater scenes. In fact, through the whole gig the visuals were neatly done, with distinctly summery tropical feels and retro-text lyrics overlying shots of wildlife and animated patterns.
Other crowd favourites included remixes of Seinabo Sey’s “Younger” and Marvin Gaye’s classic “Sexual Healing”, as well as “No Diggity vs. Thrift Shop” mash-up and Kygo’s own original single “Firestone”. However, one of Kygo’s major flaws – becoming all the more noticeable as he puts out more and more music – is that all his songs sound fairly similar. And again, at the gig, none of the songs sounded all that different live to how they do recorded. It’s a shame he didn’t do something different or jazz some of the up a bit of the live audience than just follow the formula of fading on song into the other. That said, the audience wasn’t complaining.
Actually, if complaints could be placed they would be against the audience themselves, who were remarkably loud and rowdy in contrast to the chilled music of the main act. There was a lot of pushing – and one girl attempting to crawl through other patrons legs to reach the front. As Kygo attempted to reach out and high-five the front row, he got grabbed and nearly pulled in to the crowd. There was no more high-fiving from that point on. High energy in crowds is great, but the antagonistic shoving and very high-pitched squealing is perhaps better left to a Justin Bieber gig.
Although disappointed that such an original musician and producer didn’t show some more originality with his live renditions, Kygo put on an entertaining show full of much-loved great tracks. Hopefully we’ll see his music diversify as he continues to grow and experiment in the future.