A couple weeks ago (yes, I really need to step my blogging game up), my friend managed to get me tickets to see Dwele perform at the Jazz Cafe in Camden. While my friend is a big Dwele fan and has been since his first album, I am relatively new to his music. When Dwele first came to prominence back in 2003, I was on a 50 Cent hype and dismissed neo-soul as, ‘Coffee Shop Music’.
8 years later and I have put my foolish, somewhat misguided ways behind me (I mean, who really cares for Fiddy musically these days anyway) and I find myself at the aforementioned Jazz Cafe. The venue and the crowd were a lot more different than the concerts that I’ve been to before. Less screaming adolescents and more laid back grown folk, I definitely felt a more mature vibe in the air (and I’m not talking about incense sticks).
After a short introduction from the in-house team (no supporting artists necessary) we were into the show. Although this was the fourth show of his London setlist, you could be forgiven for thinking it was the first. The energy of both Dwele and the band were infectious and even if you are not familiar with all of his back catalogue (I could count on one hand the songs I knew – that would be five), it was very easy to be drawn in.
Dwele performed songs from his previous albums as well as sprinkling the set with some newer cuts from his latest album, Wants.World.Women, which I downloaded that day like a frantic student trying out some last minute revision, and had the crowd rocking from beginning to end.
Dwele has a lot more charisma than his records would allow you to think. Unlike many shows in larger venues that I have attended, he actually interacted with the crowd, perhaps due to the intimacy of the setting. I particularly enjoyed his chat-up lines (will be using some of those in the future) and the Nate Dogg tribute, the latter of which he seamlessly intertwined his hit ‘I Think I Love You’ into proceedings. It was definitely a worthy tribute.
Towards the end of the set, Dwele left the stage and joined the audience on the floor to sing ‘Dodgin Your Phone’ sending the ladies wild. He walked through the whole crowd and had the fans in a frenzy, frantically trying to capture the moment on their phones. Whether or not I was one of these people can neither be confirmed or denied.
Overall, Dwele’s put on a great show for both the die-hard fans and the casual listeners like myself. It’s hard not to be swayed by the soothing neo-soul sounds and the charisma of the band. Above all, it was a really good, mature night out and if you love your live soul music this is definitely a must.