For a first-time gig in Leeds, you would be forgiven for thinking that the cavernous 3000 capacity O2 Academy was just a step too far. For Tom Misch though, this was always within his reach.
Having started life producing scrappy hip-hop beats in his London home aged 16, the 22-year old looked and sounded as accomplished as he treated the crowd to his genre-hopping, nu jazz-infected pop.
Opening with the woozy blissed-out instrumental of ‘The Journey’, from his 2015 semi-mixtape Beat 2, the audience were taken for just that. They took a seat right in the palm of Misch and were not to leave until the lights went up. Although Misch is most noted for his work with rapper-come-best-pal Loyle Carner, it was his own productions that were under the spotlight here. Newer tracks were cleverly interspersed with older favourites. The wobbly slo-mo funk of 2016’s ‘I Wish’ merged seamlessly with highlight ‘Disco Yes’, a bouncy, fresher cut featuring Poppy Ajudha on vocals. By now, Misch was in full flow and loving every second.
The glittering nu-disco of ‘South of The River,’ was greeted with a rapture of applause, fitting of a seasoned pro, not an artist still finding his feet. The sea of camera phones remained aloft for the violin-heavy ‘Man Like You’ and recent single ‘Movie’ in which he brought his equally talented sister onstage to deliver a flawless vocal.
Saving the best until last however, Misch dived into a ridiculously funky rendition of Stevie Wonder’s classic ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ before an ode to his influences via a J Dilla prominent hip-hop instrumental. The only disappointment of the night was the lack of tunes from his recent collaborations with Carner and De La Soul.
With debut album Geography due out in early April and plenty of successful gigs like this under his belt, including a high-profile European tour, Tom Misch is on route to cement his place as one of the biggest and brightest solo artists in the country.