Tinie Tempah, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Tuesday, February 14
Quick trivia question: which artist has scored the most UK No.1 singles this decade? The answer, perhaps surprisingly to some, is Patrick Okogwu – better known as Tinie Tempah.
Tempah has scored a magnificent seven chart-toppers (four as featured artist) since 2010, most recently hitting the summit in 2015 with Turn The Music Louder (Rumble); his collaboration with KDA and Katy B.
Comeback track Text From Your Ex is yet to replicate that success, hovering just outside the Top 20 at press time. Whether that is evidence of a star on the wane remains to be seen but - judging by tonight’s showing - it’s had precisely zero impact on the 28-year-old’s self-belief.
The singer headlined in the relatively intimate surroundings of the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire as part of the Warner label night to kick off BRITs Week with War Child, raising money for children whose lives have been affected by war.
Emerging under a strobe light to launch into Something Special, Tinie delivered an energetic hour-long set, mixing new material with old favourites such as debut No.1 Pass Out, Not Letting Go and his Labrinth collab, Earthquake. The biggest sing-along was reserved for his biggest hit, Written In The Stars which, scarily, turns seven years old this year.
Tempah was joined on stage by East London rapper Yxng Bane for the latter’s take on Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You, a reminder of the remarkable genre-straddling nature of Sheeran’s music, and duetted with Imani on Text To Your Ex to send the crowd home happy. Or at least as happy as an audience of mostly singletons can truly be on Valentine’s Day.
Earlier, pop duo Darline opened proceedings, followed by a well-received slot by hotly tipped Rockabye vocalist Anne-Marie. Lianne La Havas, who took to the stage immediately prior to Tempah, completed the stacked line-up. La Havas’ laid back acoustic set didn’t always command the audience’s full attention, but succeeded in getting everyone on board for a rousing finalé of Aretha Franklin’s I Say A Little Prayer.
BRITs Week continued last night with Biffy Clyro in Shepherd’s Bush. Tonight’s triple-header sees Basement Jaxx at Dingwalls, The 1975 at The Dome, Tufnell Park and Jack Savoretti at Hoxton Hall; Rick Astley plays Camden’s Jazz Cafe on Thursday and Wild Beasts bring the series to a close at Omeara on Friday.
In 2016, War Child raised a record breaking £564,768 together with O2 as part of BRITs Week, with thousands of people applying for tickets to see the likes of Bloc Party, Jamie XX, Florence + The Machine and Coldplay.