Katy B @ O2 Academy Oxford – 29/4/11

Every time a band plays the O2 Academy, I can’t help but size-up their tour bus as I pass the venue on my way to town; especially those who play to a sold out venue.

I am always slightly suspicious of a “sell out” gig, usually because I make a point of sneering at the keenos who literally camp out from 10am. To be fair, they do avoid the large queues that wrap around the block – but surely nothing could be that worth while?

Alas, I was to undergo musical espionage and watch a pop show.

The second I arrived and witnessed the setup on stage, I realised I had grossly underestimated the power of pop – keys, drums, percussion, trumpet, sax, decks and even the token MC hollering “ONE!” , “YEAH!” and “C’mon make some nooiiisseeee!” – I’m thinking, “my god, she has a 5-piece ensemble to accompany her pop-step!” Did I really expect Katy B to jump on the OxfordTube with a microphone in her rucksack?

My presumptions were assuaged yet again; expecting a room full of hoodies and caps, I was presented with the most diverse audience I have witnessed at the O2; singing, dancing, even a small ring of death at the front, I was actually swept-up into a somewhat euphoric mind-set that seemed to occupy every person in the room. Notably popular tracks “Perfect Stranger” and “On A Mission” excited the audience, finishing off with some delightfully ambient lift muzak.

Although Katy B is undeniably pop, hints of dub-step, two-step and a bucket full of calypso make tonight’s show a real winner. Pop music is popular music, and popular she was; next time i’ll keep quiet before I step behind enemy lines!