27th March | O2 Academy
Photos: Naomi Williams
As we approached the O2 Academy, we were greeted by that infamous neon banner – that one which entrances you with its display of upcoming gigs and ‘must-see’ shows. But tonight that sign glowed with The Internet’s colourful Hive Mind, screaming the words ‘sold out-tour!!’ as if it were the meeting point for jazz, R&B and soul lovers around the world. It was a symbol, beckoning us to enter and we did with a mixture of excitement, anticipation and wonder.
After all, The Internet had flown from LA and it’s always a different vibe watching American bands perform far from their motherland. Sometimes they struggle with UK audiences, uneasy with the level of criticism or rowdiness (depending on pint consumption) that British audiences radiate.
But The Internet took it in their stride, gracing the stage and almost immediately scolding the audience for throwing a bottle onto the stage, but equally praising their enthusiasm. Lead singer Syd has one of those beautiful, soft LA accents, so really the scolding felt more like a mother patiently explaining to her over-zealous toddler, ‘You wouldn’t like it if were the other way around, would you?’
Syd’s smooth voice effortlessly navigated between their soul tunes, like ‘Come Over’ and their funkier ones, like ‘Roll (Burbank Funk)’. It was in these funky ones that guitarist (I swear that man was carved by angels) Steve Lacy came into his own. Taking the forefront of the stage, adorned in a rainbow jacket, his guitar solos were incredible and it was fabulous to watch the crowd appreciate these riffs just as much as they appreciated Syd’s voice.
The band went on to talk about their appreciation of Britain and its cultural influence on their music. And with Brexit looming large, it was nice to hear that our beloved nation had done something positive for our brothers abroad. Actually, the band were very positive in general. Despite the bottle incident, the band’s sunny LA attitude radiated throughout the room and they even dedicated a song to an engaged couple in the crowd.
After watching the heavenly NAO the night before, the alternative R&B genre really has shown me its very best this week. Whether it’s British solo artists like NAO or American bands like The Internet, it’s clear this genre is one oozing with promising young talent. Who will be glowing from the neon sign next week I wonder? I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out.
See the video for ‘Roll (Burbank Funk)’ here: