A cold Monday night in March saw Bryson Tiller take the stage at Koko for the opening of his European tour. The first of his three sold out shows in London.
First introduced to Tiller by a friend; when he only had a few tracks on his soundcloud. ‘Just Another Interlude’ and ‘Set You Free’ became instant favourites of mine. Unknowingly though, he had a previous mixtape ‘Killer Instinct Vol. 1” that he dropped in 2011 that remains overlooked. With that aside Tiller continued with a steady flow of music, creating a buzz for himself and quickly becoming an internet sensation. It wasn’t until the now lead single ‘Don’t’ was uploaded that he went from internet sensation to ‘the next best thing’. With over 20million plays to date, and receiving a co-sign from Timbaland and Drake meant that big things were to come for the young star.
Releasing the song and dropping a video just a few short months apart the debut album ‘TRAPSOUL’, swiftly followed. Fairly new to fame; Tiller has reached great heights in a short space of time, so to be quite honest I wasn’t sure on what I was going to get, because let’s face it. Everyone’s an artist these days!
Opening act duo made-up of Dre Love and Dante also known as ‘They’ (no DJ Khaled); managed to entertain the crowd with a few of their songs. Crowd participation and engagement the pair seem to have figured out. The back and forth between them as well as the call and response had the crowd going. While the songs were unknown they actually wasn’t too bad; I found myself giving the sporadic head bop ever so often to songs such as ‘Sunset Boulevard’ and some polic related song.
But onto the main attraction! Lights dimmed and a young Pen Griffey stepped through the purple lit smoke, to the opening track ‘Intro (Difference)’. Dressed in all black – minus the red that featured on his Nike Dunks- Tiler was just a silhouette; something about him seemed to portray vulnerability and mystery.
Leading us through the intro song with an explanation of why he’s different to the rest, he took us through the album that is heavily inspired by past relationships, and fame. Straying away from the slow mellow sounds of the majority of the album, uptempo songs such as ‘502 Come Up’ had the crowd turned up in unison. With flashing lights for effect he managed to keep the crowd thoroughly entertained. He even performed non-album songs such as the aforementioned ‘Just another Interlude’, filling song breaks with words he spoke about his rise to fame.
Standout moments for me was when he performed fan favourites such as ‘Don’t’, which he seemed to have trouble hearing himself as the crowd took control. On songs such as ‘Exchange’, ‘Been That Way’, ‘Right My Wrongs’ the R&B crooner exercised his singing abilities, with extra adlibs and harmonies proving its not just for studio, but for real life. ‘Sorry Not Sorry’, had to be the highlight as the “Fight” sample from street fighter filled the venue; the bass kicked in, and immediately I was alive.
Overall the show was good, I only assume he will get better once he adjusts to fame and being at the forefront of R&B. With plenty of comparisons to artists such as Drake, Tory Lanez andPND, who’s recently rubbed social media wrong – Pen Tiller has a lot of pressure when it comes to his sophomore. But until then….