K.Flay @ Camden Assembly 27/6/17

The last time I saw K.Flay play was in 2016, supporting megastars PVRIS on their UK tour at London’s O2 Forum.  Being one of the largest club venues in the city, this was a perfect introduction to the K.Flay live experience, which certainly did not disappoint. Tonight’s show takes place in the comparatively modest Camden Assembly; with a capacity of only 400, I was excited to see this artist in a more intimate setting, a room which the artist has sold out for two nights in a row. K.Flay and her backup instrumentalists took the stage to roaring applause before running straight into the set with ‘Giver’ taken from the artist’s latest LP Everywhere Is Somewhere. What followed was a diverse selection of tracks from K.Flay’s considerable back catalogue, albeit heavy on new material, all of which the sold out room showed passionate appreciation for. Whilst the room tonight was decidedly cosy, the energy of K.Flay and her band was definitely not attenuated. Huge crowd pleasers such as ‘High Enough’, ‘Wishing it Was You’ and ‘FML’ generated the best reactions from the assembly of hardcore fans, with ‘Flay herself head-banging and using the full amount of space available, with the lack of barricade enabling for a much more unfiltered experience. K.Flays’ between-song segues were also very enjoyable, proving herself to be both comical and topical and often providing background information to ideas being particular songs in the set; something I see rarely at shows. After ripping through tonight’s set, the voracious crowd chanted for several minutes hoping for an encore which the band acquiesced to with a rendition of two more new tracks: ‘Mean It’ and Everywhere Is Somewhere’s ‘Blood In The Cut’. Even after this, the crowd wanted more, and ‘Flay herself was able to enter the venue floor itself afterwards, thanking each and every member of the crowd for attending; again something rarely seen from artists of her calibre.

In closing, the fact that K.Flay was able to sell out a venue such as this for two nights in a row so quickly, along with the reception from the crowd tonight tells me that her next visit to UK shores will inhabit larger and larger venues, and perhaps sooner rather than later she may even headline the likes of the O2 Forum on her own… I am surprised this has not happened already.

K.Flay – Every Where Is Some Where

Illinois indie hip hop artist K.Flay is a name that has been thrown around heavily in the underground hip hop scene since 2009, but one that rarely seemed to be mentioned by mainstream radio DJs until recently. A successful debut major label album in 2014 led to widespread recognition and new connections. From here, she found herself opening on sold out tours for the likes of Twenty One Pilots and PVRIS, making her future look brighter by the day. Does Every Where Is Some Where live up to the hype? 

I'll admit that when I was approached to review her sophomore album, I'd never heard K.Flay before. Less than halfway through the first track of this album, I was already kicking myself for that oversight. Her sound combines the darker, hollow pop sounds of artists like Lights and Hozier while utilizing the hip hop production of acts like Twenty One Pilots. This combination makes for an unexpectedly fresh and rock-tinged pop record that's not to be missed. There wasn't a single moment during my multiple plays of this record that I wasn't engaged. The mixing and arrangements are minimalistic, but rarely ever allow the songs to feel empty. There's always a clear path and a reason for the songs to be the way they are. Anti-anthems like "Giver" and "High Enough", as well as rockers like "Blood In The Cut" beg to be performed live with their infectious melodies. The rap tracks like "Champagne" and "You Felt Right" interspursed throughout bring a passion and raw energy not found in the rap scene dominated by 'Future' and 'Drake' clones that seem all too happy to keep things mellow and fairly emotionless. The varying genre switches don't stop there though. Tracks like "Hollywood Forever" and "It's Just A Lot" evoke a feel similar to Switchfoot of all bands, reminding me of classic songs of theirs like "Stitches" and "Happy Is A Yuppie Word." I can't find a single major issue with this album, which is a testament to the production and performances of everyone involved.

This album can easily be considered a gateway drug to this darker brand of pop. From deep lyrical themes and infectious hooks to near flawless production, every song feels deliberately placed and there isn't a single song that I would label as filler. Every Where Is Some Where is out April 7th through Interscope Records and on all major digital outlets.

Standout tracks: Dreamers, Giver, High Enough, It's Just A Lot, You Felt Right

Rating: 9/10

Check out K.Flay on tour throughout Australia this may.