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Live Review: Bernhoft & The Fashion Bruises at O2 Academy, Birmingham


Bernhoft is a grammy nominated R&B artist, someone who came to my attention this year and blew me away with his album Humanoid, an album that almost edged on the side of pop, taking a large step forward and slightly away from a very traditional R&B setting. So when he stopped by Birmingham on his short rendezvous through Blighty.

First up were Lawrence, a 7 (I think) piece jazz-pop band that I only caught towards the en of their set but what I saw made me wish I'd seen it all, a fantastic rendition of Sean Paul lit the room up incredibly, immediately having me hooked in their set. The songs that followed were each as joyful as the next and contained some of the best contemporary jazz infused music I've heard in ages!

Bernhoft swaggered onto the stage with the Fashion Bruises in tow and blew the roof off the O2 Academy as he ran through a set that began with the title track of his latest record, dancing and performing to songs he loved just as much as the crowd screaming it back at him. The atmosphere like a cauldron, the whole audience singing their lungs out to every song. And Bernhoft himself was genuinely funny in between songs - telling stories of his childhood and being forced to attend choir practice with his mother and father.

The songs from the new album went down a treat, even bringing Gracie Lawrence back on stage to perform "Buried Gold" which worked incredibly (I kind of wish she was on the recorded version now). After a set which spanned nearly 2 hours you would think crowd fatigue would begin to set in, yet when the band went off stage they demanded an encore, clapping and chatting in uproar to which Bernhoft duly replied and came back on and performed a phenomenal rendition of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy", a truly beautiful rendition of the song that saw Jarle Bernhoft perform solo and utilise his loops and pedals to their maximum ability.

I seriously hope that he releases a live album from this tour because I'd buy it tomorrow.

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