To say that Katy B‘s performance last night for MTV Hive’s livestreamed Live In NYC concert required an adjustment is somewhat of an understatement. “Usually, it’s mostly girls!” she remarked last night, surprised at the gender-breakdown of the crowd at the Studio at Webster Hall. Welcome to New York City club shows, Katy. (To be fair, her recent performances on Britain’s summer festival circuit aren’t exactly her stock in trade either. “I’m used to performing with a DJ in a proper club environment at two in the morning,” she told MTV Hive.) Whether by practice or charisma, though, she effortlessly brought her performance into harmony with the venue and crowd.
The decision to bring a five-piece backing band (keyboards, bass, drums, saxophone, and trumpet) plus a hypeman (who understood that in this situation, unlike most, less was more) transformed Katy B’s sound significantly. The performance didn’t exactly shy away from the snapshot-of-UK-house-music that is her album On A Mission?out April 1 in England but only yesterday in the United States, though “illegally downloaded,” as Katy B teased from onstage, by the many in the crowd who knew her songs well?but it did reposition the singer as an R&B frontwoman rather than a dance vocalist. Maybe this is better suited for American audiences, who by and large don’t latch onto the Caribbean-inflected syncopated rhythms of much of UK dance music.
Or maybe Katy B was just really into it. That was the overall impression she tried to make?trying not to sell any records (no one even bothered to set up a merch table) but just to inspire the crowd to dance and to feel her vibe?or as she instructed in the introduction to one song, “Get on my level.” And we tried our best.
If you missed the stream, MTV Hive will have at least part of the show available to view on demand on Monday. The full setlist is below the jump.
“Power On Me”
“Easy Please Me”
“Why You Always Here”
“Katy On A Mission”
“Hard To Get”