It’s always funny when you like an artist and then they pop up as the ‘one to watch,’ or ‘the next big thing.’ Playing the penultimate night of the Levi’s One To Watch season at London’s Hoxton Bar & Kitchen (fast becoming one of my favourite venues) Mpho fit this description. Despite singing with a sore throat she showed a lot more people they should be watching her too.
Despite being classified as ‘ubran’ by some Mpho is anything but – and I think the ‘urban’ label is a disrespect to her on all levels because the music is so much more. Kicking off with Runaway, a fairly wholesome number with pace she never looked back. Her songs are have that rocky feel long associated with live soul music, something best showcased on See Me Now. Lead guitars pingging along to her punchy vocals.
The sore throat did start to crackle through at times. However her passionate display covered over the apparent cracks neatly. After about 5 songs you could tell it was getting a bit too much for her vocally and she called time on the set a little early. Luckily that was after her cover of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, which as always was cracking.
Oh and Box and Lots, the lead single (which to be honest I am not a fan of) sounded immeasurably better live.
If anyone deserves a good 2010 it’s Mpho, and if this is how she gets down when running at about 60%, running at 100% she should be unstoppable.