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Review: music

John Newman

John Newman

O2 Academy, Glasgow

Lisa-Marie Ferla

It is one of the great tragedies of linear time that Lolo's Year Round Summer of Love has not yet had the opportunity to become a summertime anthem. The Brooklyn singer's last single has all the right ingredients: a great beat, a catchy chorus and tonnes of attitude. In that, it is not unlike John Newman's megahit Love Me Again, which was deservedly everywhere back in July.

It's hard to classify what the 26-year-old does on stage exactly: just when you think she falls somewhere impossibly between an MC and a big rock singer she reveals her soulful purr. I Hate You Too is deceptively mellow until its sassy kiss-off chorus, and even her least exciting track features a crazy jazz piano breakdown and the sort of thudding, insistent drumming that gets under your skin.

John Newman's dramatic entrance, complete with searchlights and a black gauze curtain that drops to reveal the band, seems worthy of a bigger venue.

With his extraordinary hair in check, it's a shame that his equally extraordinary voice sounds a little tinny on opening track Tribute - until the lights turn red for Try, with its "stronger stronger stronger" refrain, and suddenly Newman is commanding the stage with a burst of northern soul-inspired dancing.

In the end it is that voice that lets him down: while there's no denying it has power, there's a nasally twang that distracts when he tries to take it down a notch on Easy, as if everything else is kept big and brassy by necessity. All the light shows in the world can't distract from what makes the hits so listenable, but the live show is strangely flat.

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