As the opening act for the critically-acclaimed Friendly Fires, Theophilus London partied down at LA Live’s Club Nokia, rapping and singing an 11 song set to an audience of mostly Theophilus London virgins. With influences ranging from Cameo to Three Six Mafia, Kanye West to 2 In A Room, his tracks sounded authentically hand-plucked from the ’80s and ’90s dance scenes – with a little dirty south 808s here and there, for good measure.
The scattered, uninitiated crowd timidly filled in for the British artist who was clad in an outfit reminiscent of Shabba Ranks, Bobby Brown or a member of NWA. In efforts to draw in new American fans, an American flag draped over the DJ’s booth, while a life-sized cardboard cutout of Michael Jackson (proudly announced as London’s special guest background vocalist) stood before a microphone for a few songs. Flanking London on either side were his guitarist and bassist, who poured themselves into every song they graced.
Joining ranks with today’s rapper-turned-singers, London’s rapping was stronger than his singing voice. However, he stirred the crowd with his eclectic dancing, infectious energy, and by bringing a hype man to stage. Toward the end of the set, his two band members shed their axes and also became hype men. Despite mixed crowd reactions, London still asked for audience participation during a song few people knew, but that didn’t stop his flow. Keeping things mostly in party mode, his topics covered girls, money, relationships and partying.
London’s show highlights included “Last Name London” (seemingly influenced by Kanye West and Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”), his new, Vocodor-laced single “I Stand Alone”, “Big Spender” (which infused dirty south 808s with a sample of “Big Spender” from the 1966 musical Sweet Charity), and the high-intensity UK Garage/Pop Rock closing song, “All Around the World”.
By the show’s end, a sea of hands were in the air and new Theophilus London fans were definitely coming around…and loving it.
Set List –
Why Even Try
Wine And Chocolates
Love Is Real
Last Name London
I Stand Alone
Girls Girls Money
All Around The World