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Live Review: The Weeknd @ Apple Music Festival, The Roundhouse

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★★★★★

The Weeknd has had a stratospheric rise to fame over the past twelve months with the success of Fifty Shades smash 'Earned It' and more recently his hit single 'Can't Feel My Face'.

Luckily for the Toronto songwriter, his live performance lives up to the hype.

The support acts:

Justine Skye was first up to perform at the Roundhouse last night (23rd September) and, despite being relatively new onto the scene, had a star quality with her sassy stage presence. 

Arriving onto the stage to the soundtrack of Rihanna's 'Bitch Better Have My Money' said a lot about her influences, as she definitely had a Rhi Rhi vibe to her performance. With famous friends like Kylie Jenner she's bound to do well despite being nothing overly new or different, just another talented female singer.

Grace Mitchell was next up and her set seemed to pass the crowd by without offence, but without blowing them away either. She played tracks from her latest EP design including 'Runaway' and 'Broken Over You'. 

The headline act:

With the release of his latest album Beauty Behind The Madness, we’ve had a chance to familiarise ourselves with tracks such as ‘Prisoner’ and ‘Losers’, the tracks in which Abel Tesfaye opened his set at the Roundhouse.

In fact, he kicked off his set with four tracks from the new record including ‘Tell All Your Friends’ and the über sensual ‘Often’.

In fact, most of The Weeknd’s back catalogue is most definitely NSFW, an element he doesn’t shy away from.

The 25-year-old has often cited Michael Jackson as a huge inspiration and this doesn’t stop at his uncannily similar vocals. Abel also busted out some Jackson-esque dance moves on stage with his energy never faltering.

His cover of ‘Drunk In Love’ kick started a string of covers/songs he’s featured on, and just when you thought the Beyoncé hit couldn’t get any sexier, he went and dropped it into his set with his expletive ridden remixed verses added in.

We definitely got a bit hot under the collar… 

From one pop songstress to the next he also covered Ariana Grande’s ‘Love Me Harder’ before lifting the roof with his performance of ‘Crew Love’.

Newer fans of The Weeknd might not remember his featured vocals on the Drake hit back in 2011, but this demonstrates that he's been in the business for a while brushing shoulders with the most prolific musicians. As well as his unique vocals, he has a prolific production history and is now enjoying his much deserved success.

Fans of House Of Balloons and The Trilogy were also treated to a performance of some of his best earlier tracks including ‘House Of Balloons’ and ‘The Morning’ before he performed ‘Earned It’ and set the place alight with ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, of which he introduced, saying: “I wanna bring the tempo up a bit right now”, before doing just that.

Abel has a long-standing love for the UK, and London in particular, a fact he kept stressing throughout the gig and cited as the reason for his two track encore. ‘High For This’ and ‘Wicked Games’ concluded his set and we were left extremely impressed by the whole thing.

Bring on a Beauty Behind The Madness UK tour...

Set List

Prisoner
Losers
Tell All Your Friends
Often
Drunk In Love (Beyonce Cover)
Love Me Harder (Ariana Grande cover)
Crew Love
Or Nah (Ty Dolla $ign cover)
The Morning
House Of Balloons/Glass Table Girls
Earned It
Can't Feel My Face
The Hills

Encore

High For This
Wicked Games

You can watch the full performance on Apple Music and Apple TV.

Photo credits: Apple Music Festival, London 2015




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