Live review: Craig David at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

It may not have been quite the homecoming spectacle originally intended, but David’s slicker than your average display of many talents proved fodder for a delightful if unconventional Mayflower evening.

Originally published in The Edge

Thanks to a rapid transition from years of accumulating obscurity to selling out a nationwide arena tour, bagging a BRIT nomination and topping the album chart for the first time since his 2000 debut with last autumn’s Following My Intuition, the past two years have been nothing short of extraordinary for Southampton-bred Craig DavidExtending the tour to a day at the Ageas Bowl – a cricket stadium capable of hosting upwards of 20,000 for events like this – seemed like a rather logical way to bring everything back to square one in a suitably exciting fashion. Speaking at its announcement in February, he waxed passionately about the “iconic” location, which has previously lined up performances from Oasis, Luciano Pavarotti, Rod Stewart, and, most recently, Little Mix.

Yet three months after tickets went on sale, everything was quietly canned, citing concerns following the 17 indoor dates that the show “would not work outdoors,” even though he’d been booked for plenty of other shows in forests and festivals up and down the land. Those who had taken the plunge for a Friday in the sun were instead scattered between four replacement nights at the Mayflower – a venue a tenth of the size that is more accustomed to live music in the shape of Joe McElderry and Jools Holland than anyone who packed out both of London’s concert arenas mere months ago – and, perhaps inevitably, a fair scattering of empty £42.50 seats remained as David entered the theatre for the very first time, despite spending his formative years barely a kilometre away on Orchard Lane. Continue reading “Live review: Craig David at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton”

Album review: Craig David – Following My Intuition

Failing to meet the consistent standard set by the big collaborations that sparked his return, Southampton’s idol may be once again spritely and well-set but his latest record fails to compel.

Originally published in The Edge

My childhood recollections of Craig David are sparse – a duet with Sting here, a grating (even for a six-year-old) advert for Mattel’s Flavas dolls there, beanie hats, rubber masks, and such – and, given the first stint of his brief career rode on the tails of 2000’s smash Born To Do It, rather comprehensive. That he spends much of Following My Intuition, his first album of wholly original material since a greatest hits collection of 2008, rehashing what we have heard and thoroughly enjoyed before is unsurprising, however the blandness of the newest material and the lack of perceptible depth beyond the existing singles are at times overwhelming. Continue reading “Album review: Craig David – Following My Intuition”

Festival review: Saturday at Common People 2016

We review Craig David’s hometown return and debut festival headline show.

Originally published in The Edge

Such is the adoration felt towards Craig David in his hometown of Southampton, he could easily have just stepped onto the stage at Common People on Saturday night to motionlessly croon a hit from the turn of the millennium before retreating to his Miami abode without a word and still cause a city to collectively swoon. Instead, he reminded us all just why he is a national treasure exploding for the second time as he brought a taste of that atmosphere to his family and thousands of friends with an emphatic display of cross-generational skills. Continue reading “Festival review: Saturday at Common People 2016”

“Common People is a good festival to launch yourself into” – An interview with Rob da Bank

Ahead of Common People’s return to Southampton, we chat to the man behind it all.

Originally published in The Edge

This weekend sees the second run of Common People, the first taste of 2016’s summer festival action for The Edge’s hometown. Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at our picks from the lineup and set the scene for the Bank Holiday weekend’s festivities in our full preview. Now, with stages going up and excitement building; I spoke to curator, founder, and Hampshire local Rob da Bank about life organising festivals from Southampton to Toronto, local musical talent appearing on the Common, and bouncy castles. Continue reading ““Common People is a good festival to launch yourself into” – An interview with Rob da Bank”

Album review: Katy B – Honey

An evident passion project that chuckles sultrily at the mould of a pop songstress’ third album, Honey’s variety and underground spirit gets lost in its own intentions as Katy B embraces, and is embraced by, the ideas that brought her to this point.

Originally published in The Edge

When Geeneus, the founder of Rinse FM, wanted to celebrate the graduation of his station from a pirate aerial protruding from his flat window to an actual Ofcom licensee around the turn of the decade, he looked to Katy B to voice a production showreel of their underground producer and MC cohort. Instead, he handled the bulk of the production and picked up a scatter of writing credits on On A Mission and Little Red, records which bore the inflexions of their rave scene amidst angsty pop.

Those successes – Little Red topped the album chart in 2014 and 7 singles have struck the UK top 20 – have attracted a higher profile of guest for Honey, a subsequently supercharged incarnation of that original concept, and it is only Geeneus who can manage to squeeze in a second production nod courtesy of a bit of outro work. Each track is marketed as Katy B x [INSERT PRODUCER] with the exception of a new, Tinie Tempah-less rendition of KDA’s bubbly chart-topper ‘Turn The Music Louder (Rumble)’ upon which Katy featured last autumn, and over 20 collaborators are credited over its 53 minute runtime, including a scatter of UK rappers, Rinse-affiliated producers, and enough genre-hopping to exhaust the hive. Continue reading “Album review: Katy B – Honey”

Single review: Blonde & Craig David – ‘Nothing Like This’

Re-rewind, and the crowd say “1990s” (in a good way).

Originally published in The Edge

If we were to re-rewind back as few as six months, we’d find Craig David as a longlost relic of garage’s prime; a pinnacle of a genre lost in time who’d sailed off into the Miami sunset through a haze of R&B mediocrity almost a decade prior. His apparent parting gifts were Rita Ora and Tinchy Stryder, who both appeared on his Greatest Hits lead cut ‘Where’s Your Love’ long before their own successful releases (which were, similarly, followed by paychecks from sessions with Simon Cowell and the Chuckle Brothers). His limelight was fleeting yet fruitful, putting Southampton on the map as a source of enchanting, very British dance music with a robust soulful varnish, and single-handedly making beanie hats a fashion statement. With the fame came the allure of South Beach, possibly named for the direction his musical output then took. Continue reading “Single review: Blonde & Craig David – ‘Nothing Like This’”