Live Review: Example

Natasha D'Souza 21 November 2012

Example supported by P Money

The Forum, Hertfordshire

I have never seen a crowd sustain applause and screams of approval like I did at last week’s Example concert at The Hatfield Forum – maybe I just haven’t been to enough gigs. The Forum is itself worth a large fraction of that applause: vibrantly lit, the bar extends along both lengths of the stage, framing the dazzling disco-ball that shines down on its eager young audience.

The night began with P Money who, after two songs, I thought, was going to do an unlikely job of being what Robyn was to Katy Perry on her California Dreams tour – a bloody difficult act to follow. Despite being relatively unknown, save the odd feature with Magnetic Man and Ed Sheeran, P Money impressed the crowd and shone with his personal take on dubstep collaborations Athemic and I Can’t Stop.

After a slight pause with the DJ’s selection of popular club tunes, Example hit the crowd with Stay Awake. Sadly, this was one of the only times his talent as an MC was given prominence: overall, the evolution from rap to electro-dubstep in his music has led to a poppy, club set. Whether raving fan or quiet appreciator, any listener will recognise his songs – even if you think you wouldn’t, have a listen and you’ll find to your surprise that Example is more prevalent than you thought.

I admit that a gig on this scale will naturally remove any feeling of getting up-close and personal with the music and artist. However, the fact that the whole thing was just a rave, noisily covering up some excellent themes, was, I think, a shame.

A number of the night’s performances were taken from his earlier albums, including, of course, Watch The Sun Come Up, Kickstarts and Say Nothing. Close Enemies (yes, I too thought it was called ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’) was the best performance of the night, maybe because it felt refreshingly new. The night (predictably) ended with the Calvin Harris collab. number, Changed The Way You Kissed Me. A rather abrupt ending too, while I wondered what to do with myself at 10.30pm – this club music had built up to its Cindies midnight moment that we thought would kickstart the night again in true fashion but it was only to let us go wanting more. His new album, ‘The Evolution of Man’, released 19th November, may be the answer.

Natasha D’Souza