Bringing his ‘Set It Off’ tour to London for 3 nights at the 8,000+ capacity Eventim Apollo – Bryson Tiller made a significant upgrade from last year’s shows at Camden’s Koko which famously sold out within seconds of the tickets going on sale. Back touring his sophomore album ‘True to Self’, Tiller was joined by SZA and IAMDDB as support, although vocal issues saw SZA head home before the final night.
Opening with 21 year old Mancunian IAMDDB – the UK’s current darling who serves up her own brand of TrapSoul – while some of the crowd were being newly introduced to IAMDDB, a good portion seemed to know the lyrics to her breakout hit ‘Shade’. Recently featured as one of the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2018’ acts to keep an eye on alongside Not3s and Yxng Bane, her smooth, sultry vocals and jazz-tinged flows were notably on peak form.
Surprisingly this was SZA’s first live performance in London bar a strictly fan-only show earlier in the year. Opening up to the gushing crowd about being mildly nervous, there was nothing for her to worry about, as the wildy popular singer-songwriter showcased nothing but her flawless vocals, bundles of energy and infectiously positive vibes. SZA bounced around the stage, curls swinging while never missing a note, as she sang through ‘Broken Clocks’, ‘The Weekend’ and of course ‘Love Galore’ as well as delving into pre ‘CTRL’ deep cuts for her day one fans.
Then came time for the main man to make his way to the stage. Young Tiller emerged to the dramatic sounds of a storm and thunder as an intro to ‘Rain on Me’ which infamously samples the R&B classic ‘Rain’ from SWV. Jumping straight into ‘Self Made’, Tiller ran through a selection of songs from ‘True to Self’ with cuts like ‘Run Me Dry’ and ‘Something Tells Me’ but it was the ‘TrapSoul’ tracks that really swayed and stirred the audience.
The beautifully delivered ‘Exchange’ kicked off a sing-along with Tiller standing atop a podium swathed in red light with the crowd echoing back harmonies and the hook. The energy picked up once again with Bryson giving the verse to his DJ Khaled and Rihanna collab ‘Wild Thoughts’ which he mashed up with Santana’s ‘Maria Maria’ – a true highlight of the night.
The evening came to a close when one brave fan and hero to many jumped on stage to wrap her legs around Tiller who courteously welcomed her embrace with open arms to a chorus of applause and cheers from screaming fan girls throughout the venue.