Sunday, May 30, 2010

B.o.B Makes His Official Live Debut In London, England Concert Recap

As reported by Lisa Verrico / London's Times Online

(Thursday, May 27 at King’s College, London) His debut single, Nothin’ on You, shot straight to the top of the charts last week and its follow-up, Airplanes, will be inescapable over the summer. If you don’t know B.o.B now, you soon will.

The Atlanta-based, 21-year-old rapper born Bobby Ray Simmons is already a star in America. Having made waves on the hip-hop scene since his teens, he went to No 1 last month with his debut album, B.o.B Presents the Adventures of Bobby Ray, released here this week. In Britain we prefer our rap home-grown, but B.o.B is proving an exception, not least because his hip-hop sounds more like mainstream pop.

At his first British gig, where he was lavished with chants of “B-O-B” by a crowd who already knew lots of his lyrics, he brought a breath of fresh air back to rap. Looking all of 16 and sporting the silliest pair of trousers since MC Hammer — tight jeans that came up to his waist, but had a crotch that went down to his knees — he may have welcomed the crowd with a swear word, but his songs were packed with positive vibes and his cheery beats harked back to the days when Salt-N-Pepa had hits.

An opening run of tracks taken from his acclaimed mix tapes Cloud 9 and May 25, sung over a basic backing track, showcased B.o.B’s fun, easy flow and ear for a nagging pop hook. He was still solo when the crowd erupted for Airplanes, which had the guest vocalist Hayley Williams from the rock band Paramore only on tape but still came close to stealing the show.

It was when B.o.B brought out his band, however, that he veered from traditional rapper to multi-tasking pop star. A pair of guitarists, a female keyboard player and a bare-chested drummer added rock and reggae to the mix, played a song that recalled Snow Patrol (Letters from Vietnam) and backed the rapper on two beautiful ballads, Satellite and Don’t Let Me Fall.

Before closing with a roof-raising Nothin’ on You, B.o.B broke every rule in rap when he pulled out a stool, sat down and strummed an acoustic guitar. The French horn he plays on the album, sadly, had been left at home.

more footage below.

(video courtesy of erin9208 & Soul Culture)

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