Live Review: MTV Brand New for 2011 Starring Chase and Status with Mona and Clare Maguire at London Koko – 26th January 2011

By on Thursday, 3rd February 2011 at 2:00 pm

Words and in-text photos by Braden Fletcher
Header photo by Andrew Timms (MTV)

Looking at the bill for last Wednesday night’s show at KOKO, the genres span as wide as the MTV Brand New for 2011 list itself. Alas, only in London can you hear a new pop star, followed by an American rock band and then have the evening headlined by London’s very own Chase and Status. Camden plays host to a show as diverse as its own residents and visitors and I can’t really think of a better place to do so.

First onstage is Clare Maguire. The Birmingham singer-songwriter has been surrounded by hype of late. Featured in the BBC Sound of 2011 list (placing #5 on this year’s poll) and one of the lead stars of HMV’s Next Big Thing festival, it seems inevitable that her voice will be heard across the airwaves nationwide this year. Whilst this is all great news for her and her incredible voice, I can’t help but feel like she’s already become a cliché. Her hauntingly good voice is lost amidst a selection of dull pop tunes and her live band struggle to look anything but comatose at times. This said, her dark persona and strong voice will no doubt earn her acclaim and success in the future.

Next up tonight are my favourite act on the bill. Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Mona have a lot to live up to. Nashville’s favourite sons Kings of Leon are one of the biggest bands on the planet right now and with comparisons being drawn at every turn, Mona have big boots to be stepping into. Fortunately, they have some huge indie rock tracks to do their talking for them. They play hard and with such enthusiasm that the crowd respond strongly. Many tonight are specifically here to see Mona and the huge sing-along to ‘Listen To Your Love’ is testament to how much of an impact the four-piece have had in the last few months. With their debut album in the making, the reigning stadium fillers of Tennessee might need to start watching their heels.

Headlining the evening are local heroes Chase and Status. With their brand new album No More Idols out Monday 31st January, the drum and bass duo have their live set up perfected in the form of MC Rage, live instrumentation and a whole set of collaborations to keep the crowd going. Tonight is no exception with everyone from Tempa T to Clare Maguire joining in for their associated tracks. From start to finish, it’s a high octane ride and even slower tracks such as ‘End Credits’ featuring Plan B (sadly absent) seem to have more power to them. The night’s closing tracks are by far the standout. Liam Bailey features in new single ‘Blind Faith’, which is rightfully going to be a dancefloor hit for the year and both band and artists take it up a level with tonight’s showing. Tinie Tempah comes out for a raucous encore of ‘Hitz’. Chase and Status themselves may not even need a star studded stage to shine, but it sure helps as ‘No More Idols’ launches them into the big time.

So after all the genre spanning acts, MTV’s two-day residency at KOKO comes to an end and I certainly think that MTV’s Brand New for 2011 list won’t disappoint over the next 12 months.

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