So after a three year break from the venue, Natty last night returned to perform an intimate gig at Scala in Kings Cross. I’m usually ready to put my game face on and navigate through crowds with a mean mug but for the first time ever that was not necessary because even though the venue was packed and the crowd was buzzing, the atmosphere was laid-back and chilled.
Never having seen him perform live before, for some strange reason I had the impression that Natty was a serious kinda fella who would perform with a straight face. I have no clue where I got that idea from and was happy to find out that I couldn’t have been more wrong. As soon as he slipped onto the stage, all smiles, he exuded a mad youthful energy that instantly infected the crowd. He also did incredibly well to connect with members of the audience and made quite a few ladies up by the front exclaim with excitement that he was “definitely” looking right at them!
As well performing a few tracks off his newly released Out of Fire mixtape, Natty and his four man band also treated us to many of our favourites off his debut Man Like I album, including Cold Town and July.
One of the best parts of the night came when we all heard the familiar intro chords to the gorgeous Bedroom Eyes. We sent massive cheers his way and started to serenade a beaming Natty, who obliged and let us have the floor (video below).
Personally, another highlight came not when he played a particular song but the moments we caught Natty really losing himself as he played his guitar. These times I found his performance most captivating and just couldn’t keep my eyes off him. His face revealed a feeling that only really good music can give you; it’s that combination of what I can only think to describe as pain and ecstasy bundled together and honestly the last time I saw someone perform so naturally and with such a carefree rawness like that was when I went to see legendary guitarist Carlos Santana a few years ago at the 02 Arena.
Up on stage, Natty was truly in his element. I think a lot of people would agree that he seemed to channel Bob Marley in his performance but that said, he was still very much himself and really did keep things as real as intended. We didn’t get an encore because, as he explained, he believes they tend to come with too much drama and can disappoint so after his last medley of songs and bidding us a final message of peace and love he humbly bowed out.