Live Report: Tems – KOKO, London | Live
Fresh off the BET Awards veneration, earning a VMA nomination and appearing on both Beyoncé’s latest masterpiece “Renaissance” and the soundtrack to Marvel’s upcoming blockbuster Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the hit Tems crusader is a testimony to the permeability of his artistic talent. beyond borders and genders; her grace and sincere soul a welcome diversion from the slew of shiny counterfeits that flood our airwaves and screens.
An assembly of Tems devotees pack the ground and tiered balconies of KOKO on the final night of their UK tour. When the Nigerian singer enters the stage wearing a silver feathered dress shimmering like a shimmering phoenix in dim lighting (a nod to the venue’s disco ball decor), her understated demeanor complements her composure and his mastery of performance mode. An audience of loyal fans and romantics lavish their star with feverish chants as she transitions from the signature hit “Higher” to the sophisticated influence of “Avoid Things” and “Damages,” her resonant, silky voice never floundering. under the weight of live instrumentation.
‘Vibe Out’, from the 2021 project ‘If Orange Was A Place’, receives a vibrant, spirited lift, rolling drums matching the rhythm of Tems’ fluid movement on stage – part private dancer, part afro-swing hype-woman . The set’s most powerful moment comes halfway through “Interference,” a volatile love story made devotional with Tems’ languid voice reverberating off the floor and into the peripheries of the room. The positioning of the gospel, faith and family in his life anchors the whole. Through songs and ad hoc dialogues with her audience, she conveys the magnitude of the occasion: in a moment of palpable emotion, she shares this spectacle, it is the first time her mother has seen her live. A tear flowed.
Tems did not release an original song this year; that she continues to connect with audiences around the world is a testament to the strength of her existing source material. While a glimpse into a new era would have been a welcome addition to the culmination of his UK tour, Tems’ ability to breathe new life into songs that have lived on in the consciousness of his fans outside of his native Nigeria is commendable.
The takeover of Tems continues.
Words: Shahzaib Hussain