Hyde Park played host to Kendrick Lamar’s first (and potentially only) UK show for 2016 yesterday, as he graced London’s British Summer Time for the second day of the annual ‘day out in the park’.
Running through his recent To Pimp A Butterfly LP (alongside some of his earlier hits), Kendrick’s one hour set was packed to the masses with a crowd who had seemingly shrugged off one of the summer’s heaviest downpours less than 40 minutes prior.
Photo by Dave Hogan
As unruley as it was though, Kendrick positioned as the day’s penultimate act still boggles the mind. Lemar is one of, if not THE biggest artists in the rap sphere at the moment, and being nestled between two far more accessible performers (Jamie xx and Florence, the former who blasted his way through his impeccable In Colour debut alongside early The xx-material) led to confusion, subconsciously at least, as to whom would outstage the other. Then again, whereas Kendrick goes from city to city, performing show-after-show, it did seem that he didn’t quite ‘get’ the London crowd. When a British artist returns to their home, there seems to be a deeper sense of connection, and just like her Glastonbury slot last year, Florence completely brought the crowd in to her love of the Capital. Energy was complete throughout the entirety of Flo’s set – so much so there were points she could have potentially stacked it again, a la Coachella 2015.
Like Massive Attack who opened BST on Friday, Florence took the opportunity to deliver a subliminal stab at the recent Brexit ‘decision’, particularly on the aftermath – “I’ve been feeling a bit heartbroken recently but tonight I have been feeling so much love… The world needs more love, no matter where you are from, we need to come together to love one another and look after each other.”
Ultimately, mind, this was an endearing set that perfectly encapsulated the solidity of Florence’s third album How Big How Blue How Beautiful, with BST marking the final hurdle of over a year’s worth of touring. If Kendrick could learn anything from Florence, perhaps more of an orchestral/live show is needed to further prove his headline-worthy abilities.
British Summer Time continues for one more week, with the likes of Take That, Mumford and Sons and Stevie Wonder headlining up until 10th July. Tickets are avialable now direct from Ticketmaster UK (and the link below):
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