Rising London pop star Dua Lipa has been making waves and setting grand expectations since bursting onto the scene back in 2015 with top 10 single Be The One. Last year saw singles Hotter Than Hell and Blow Your Mind (Mwah) continue to show promise along with not one but two sets at last June’s Glastonbury Festival, her name already up in lights behind her.
June will see the release of her much-anticipated self-titled debut album, and following a busy pre-album launch tour comprised of a massive 18 dates across the U.S. and Canada, followed by a further 10 across Europe and the UK, Lipa closed out here run of shows with a hometown headline set at west London’s fabulous Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
Appearing on stage after her three-piece band already had the music going and cloaked in shadows, Lipa kicked the night off with the number 15 UK-charting single Hotter Than Hell, her name up adorning the stage backdrop in lights of changing hues and the west London crowd singing along as she made her way between each side of the venue while singing the song’s verses soulfully at the slower end of her vocal range.
Dreams continued the energy on stage, William Bowerman’s drums keeping the rhythm flowing as Lipa strutted from side to side before bouncing about to the crescendo, “come on London, you know what to do” she encouraged as purple light encased the stage. Top 10 Sean Paul single No Lie was up next, Lipa’s contribution on the cut carrying this live outing.
“London, are you feeling good tonight?” the daughter of Kosovar-Albanian rock singer Dukagjin Lipa asked of her audience to huge cheers. “London, are you feeling bad tonight? Then let’s get bad together” she segued into expected new album cut Bad Together, the slower tune allowing Lipa’s soulful voice to shine through.
Room For Two kept the pace slow a while longer before Want To’s melancholy intro and catchy hook got the temperature rising once more as Lipa’s vocal strength and pop prowess merged, her hair being thrown about as she gyrated against the microphone stand, the highs and lows of her voice flexed before the tune was over, far too abruptly.
“I want to thank you all so much for coming down tonight and for making tonight possible” she said, radiant for the love in the room before introducing hit single Blow Your Mind (Mwah): “are you guys ready to have your minds blown?” she continued to cheers before encouraging the west London crowd to jump along with the club tune.
Proceedings were slowed down next as the band departed the stage aside from Ed Seed, who joined Lipa up front on guitar for Thinkin’ Bout You, “if you know the words, sing along” the 21-year-old London native encouraged, her husky vocals even stronger laid bare atop minimal instrumentation. New Love continued the stripped-back segment before the band returned for synth-pop cut Genesis, it’s honey-slick guitars giving the tune a slightly retro feeling.
Running was up next before the rising star dropped that her new single Lost In Your Light featuring American singer Miguel would be out the following Friday before going on to reveal that she has also collaborated with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin: “we’ve written a really, really amazing song and I can’t wait for you to hear it” she teased before closing the main set with Martin Garrix collaboration tune Scared To Be Lonely, which she subsequently flew to Indio, California to perform with Garrix at Coachella Music Festival.
The popstress and her band then departed the stage briefly before returning for album track Last Dance ahead of closing the night with the Lucy “Pawws” Taylor-penned single Be The One, the only song Lipa didn’t contribute any writing for to be making her record. “I’m on cloud nine” Lipa exclaimed, beaming at her audience. “This is the last song, so please jump up and down, scream, dance, get naked!” she requested before kicking off the tune, her 60 minute set over before we knew it.
The shouts of “buy or sell tickets for Lupo” by out of place men pacing outside the venue earlier that evening clearly demonstrated that the ticket touts might not have understood the currency in which they were trading, but after tonight, we know better.
Dua Lipa hits up The Governors Ball and Bonnaroo Music Festivals in the US this June before hitting up Ireland’s Longitude Festival. ‘Dua Lipa’ is released on June 2nd through Warner Records.
Live review of Dua Lipa @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire by Kalpesh Patel on 13th April 2017.
Kalpesh has more music photography up on his flickr stream here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/somethingforkate