For April’s Converse Gigs @ 100 Club show we partnered with tastemaker independent radio station NTS to bring a truly all-star line up to the club.
Headlined by ethereal US R&B singer How To Dress Well with support from Koreless plus Laura Groves and NTS’s Bullion, the evening’s proceedings were well worth the queue that snaked down the street before doors had opened.
The last time How To Dress Well played in the UK was at East London’s Field Day festival in 2013. Almost one year on, and two months away from the release of his third LP What Is This Heart?, central London’s ‘intimate’ 100 Club seemed a more fitting location for Tom Krell to perform some of his new music. His songs, which are heartfelt and explore his deepest, most conflicting emotions, require an audience that is brought physically as close to him as the songs themselves allow people to be.
The headline act was preceded by two excellent supports; Bradford singer-songwriter Laura Groves and Welsh electronic producer Koreless. The former was accompanied by a full 5-piece band, the latter stripped back and solo with an array of brightly lit midi controllers.
When How To Dress Well took to the stage he was illuminated by moody neon-coloured projections from all angles. The sultry lights were an extension of the tone of the music. “I wrote this song because I’m basically a teenager when it comes to exploring my desires”, he said about the evening’s second song ‘What You Wanted’, taken from the new album.
Midway through the set, following a captivating showcase of another new song ‘Very Best Friend’, the slightly confused 100 Club crowd were evacuated up on to the street due to a fire alarm.
After a brief ten minutes spent in the evening air we were safely back inside. What could have been the night’s lowest point soon became the overall highlight as How To Dress Well treated the audience to a special a cappella rendition of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ whilst his band set themselves back up. “Don’t tell anyone about that!” he joked afterwards.
‘Words I Don’t Remember’ – the first single from What Is This Heart? – received the biggest reaction of all new material from the night, as the post alarm section of his set drew to a close. The song, which builds and builds into crescendo, showcases just how good How To Dress Well’s craft at constructing a modern take on an R&B slow jam really is. Enthused audience members now lost in his world within a song only broke silence to give rapturous applause.
Another month, another fantastic show, another name etched into the 100 Club infamous dressing room wall.