Concert Review: Melanie C - 50th Birthday Show - KOKO, London

✈️ On January 12, 2024, I found myself amidst a sea of international fans at London's KOKO, eagerly anticipating Melanie C’s exclusive 50th birthday concert. Having flown in specifically for this event, the excitement was palpable, with some fans having queued overnight for the best spots.

🎧 Before the concert, a lineup of DJs, including Mel B’s daughter, Phoenix, entertained us. It was heartwarming to see support from the Spice family, with Victoria Beckham's parents also in attendance.

🌟 The show started on a beautifully nostalgic note with "Northern Star," one of my absolute favorite tracks. Melanie's entire setlist was a dream, ensuring it included not only her biggest hits but also fan favorites from across her back catalogue, like "Weak" and "Beautiful Intentions."

🎸 The addition of three guitarists in her band thrilled fans, especially since Melanie has shifted to a more electronic sound in recent years. The performances of rockier tracks like "Goin' Down" and "Ga Ga" were particularly well-received.

🎶 The night was elevated by special guests. Collaborator David Arnold joined Melanie for the original demo version of "Home," which had a more electronic feel than the rock-heavy version on the "Reason" album. Melanie cheekily noted that this was due to her label's influence at the time. Kaiser Chiefs' Ricky Wilson and Razorlight's Andy Burrows then brought the house down with "When You're Gone." Peter-John Vettese, a writer of some of my favorite Melanie songs, joined for a moving performance of "Reason," preceded by a beautiful piano rendition of "Here It Comes Again," dedicated to her daughter. Noting the high standards she has for herself, she started the song over following the first verse, making sure to hit every note and run.

💖 Following video messages from the other Spice Girls, the energy skyrocketed when Emma Bunton appeared to perform "Viva Forever." This then led to a mesmerizing performance of "2 Become 1" with All Saints' Natalie and Nicole Appleton. Their harmonies sounded great, and an 'All Spice' project would definitely be welcomed!

🥳 The concert turned into a full-blown party with "Spice Up Your Life" and "Who Do You Think You Are." Emma joined yet again, along with a slew of family and friends dancing on stage.

🎵 The final section of the show highlighted her latest album, "Melanie C," with the single "Blame It On Me," a fantastic hybrid remix of "Overload," and a captivating cover of Rui Da Silva's "Touch Me." The night culminated with an epic rendition of "I Turn To You."

🍔 After a quick break to sit down for the first time in 10 hours and enjoy a well-deserved burger, I returned to KOKO for the afterparty hosted by Sink the Pink. The lineup of DJs, including La Roux and Sporty Spice herself, kept the energy soaring. Her DJ set, featuring a mashup of the Spice Girls' "Who Do You Think You Are" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," was a perfect way to end the night.

🌈 Reflecting on the concert, it was more than just an event; it was a childhood dream come true. I am so lucky to have celebrated Melanie's 50th birthday and can't wait to see what she does next!

Setlist:

  1. Northern Star
  2. Here I Am / Weak
  3. In And Out Of Love
  4. Never Be The Same Again
  5. Next Best Superstar
  6. Beautiful Intentions
  7. Goin' Down / Ga Ga
  8. Why / Version of Me
  9. Home
  10. When You're Gone 
  11. Here It Comes Again
  12. Reason
  13. Viva Forever
  14. 2 Become 1
  15. Spice Up Your Life
  16. Who Do You Think You Are
  17. Blame It On Me
  18. Overload
  19. Touch Me
  20. I Turn To You

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On April 19th, Webster Hall was filled with “FLO Lifers” eagerly awaiting the UK girl group FLO who are currently embarking on their “FLO Live” tour. Formed 2019, FLO consists of Jorja Douglas, Renee Downer, & Stella Quaresma. The group’s style distinctly derives from R&B and Hip-Hop from the 1990’s and early 2000s. For a more in-depth analysis FLO’s sound and trajectory watch here (https://youtu.be/i18hpBoW4EU)/ <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i18hpBoW4EU" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Before FLO took the stage, Samaria, an Oakland R&B singer, opened the show. Samaria started with a simple backdrop featuring her name, keys, and drums. The audience seemed familiar with her music and if they were not, they were supportive and living in the moment. Samaria interacted with the audience well and related to them on the basis of terrible ex's and a journey through a toxic relationship. Samaria’s songs had interesting cadences, but what was  missing for us was backing vocals on the track to delineate verses from choruses. After doing some research we found that the “Out of the Way” singer has a sound also inspired by 00s R&B, with a some tracks tracks full of fun guitar licks and drum patterns reminiscent of Timbaland, but none of those instruments were present in her performance. Her backline consisted of a keyboardist and a drummer. Although Samaria sounded good, at times the keyboard’s volume was overpowering.  She worked the stage, nonetheless and  good job. 7.5 out of 10 ! ()SCORE

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CVI-FMictlA" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

https://www.instagram.com/samaria/?hl=en

samaria.lnk.to/shadyhills

Okland R&B Singer, Samaria as the opening act for FLO's tour "FLO Live." Samaria on stage singing with her band.Oakland R&B singer, Samaria performing on stage at Webster Hall as the opening act for FLO (Jorja, Renee and Stella) for their sold out "FLO Live" tour.

Next up was the much-anticipated FLO, and the girls opened with "Not My Job." They were all dressed in black with cute cutouts, and their outfits were shimmery (I love sparkle!) which was a welcome change from their wardrobe at the MOBO awards. Their faces were beat (we love a “natural glam”),

their vocals were tight, and their choreography was utilized well to highlight grooves. The chemistry between the girls was undeniable, and their vocal blend was seamless— absolutely chill-inducing. Jorja's thick vocal tone took the songs to a soulful place, and Stella's airy delivery allowed her to float at the top of the group's harmonies. Renee's smooth, warm alto voice added a coolness to their sound and gained a lot more stability in live singing. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention FLO’s band! The band consisted of some past schoolmates, which added another layer of charm to the whole set!

The absolute highlight of the show was "Losing You” In this live arrangement, the girls emoted and connected with the audience on a deeper level. Chris loved harmonized adlibs, brand new bridge and extra outdo including a guitar solo.  As a special treat, FLO performed a cover of Jamelia's version of "Superstar" by Christine Militon.  Even though a majority of the NYC crowd had no clue who Jamelia was and didn't know the song, the girls did teach the chorus before singing the song, so some fans were able to follow along. Chris and I certainly knew the song and even received compliments on synchronized impromptu choreography.

Speaking of choreo…

The girls' choreography was something we were curious to see, and they did not disappoint. They danced well, and they were given grooves as opposed to sharp movements that really complemented each member's personal style. In terms of technique, they aren’t K-pop idols so we weren’t expecting crazy formations and “point dances,” but you can tell they put in the work to provide another layer of entrainment to the experience. There was even some chair-ography for their performance of "Change," a new track about a lover's inability to "do the work" necessary to improve the condition of the relationship.

The girls did perform their latest single, "Fly Girl" ft Missy Elliot, and although Missy Elliot was present in the audience, she did not join the performance.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/flolikethis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@flolikethis</a> big up to Flo out here in the states on the road working hard! Keep doing yall thizzzzle!!!🔥 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flygirl?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Flygirl</a>💇🏾‍♀️💃🏾💅🏾 <a href="https://t.co/Qtgr2f2KBl">pic.twitter.com/Qtgr2f2KBl</a></p>&mdash; Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) <a href="https://twitter.com/MissyElliott/status/1649101483621728272?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 20, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Fans (the FLO Lifers) were absolutely living their best lives! They knew all the words to FLO’s songs—the BGV's and the ad-libs. It was a room full of genuine love and screams! FLO closed the night with their debut single, "Cardboard Box," and this performance featured a heavenly bridge section.

Overall, the show was good, and for this to be the group's first headlining tour, we were impressed with the girls’ improvement from performances like the MOBO Awards, where nerves played a noticeable factor. FLO is worth the hype for sure, and we cannot wait to see the new era of girl groups being led by FLO. For their NYC debut, we rate them a 9 out of 10! FLO Lifers left Webster Hall with unforgettable memories and high expectations for FLO's future performances.