This past Thursday, a hundred or so music lovers congregated on the sticky floors of The Lansdowne’s gig room to be blessed by the chilled out vibes of LAKYN – and blessed we were.
First up was a romper of an opening set from local legend Nardean. With her totally unique sound – an amalgamation of soulful poetry, head-bopping beats, and an angelic voice – her half hour set simply wasn’t long enough.
Perhaps the most striking thing about LAKYN as a performer – and this revelation was cemented by the second song – is that the man can play guitar.
But eventually, as the clock neared 9:40, the crowd began shuffling from the seating area to the D-floor as the visual preamble began. Projected to the back wall of the stage was a compilation of retro video clips, seemingly ripped from VHS. The footage ranged from MC Hammer clips, to old-school aerobics videos, to snaps of LAKYN himself riding his BMX.
Scoring this smorgasbord of visual content was a long jazz tune – and I mean long. It wasn’t for another twelve or so minutes that LAKYN and his accompanist Gareth sauntered onto the stage and the spacey-jazz blasting through the house PA was replaced with LAKYN’s smooth, good-time tunes.
Perhaps the most striking thing about LAKYN as a performer – and this revelation was cemented by the second song – is that the man can play guitar. Not just the stripped back acoustic stuff that he first gained popularity for on YouTube either, the man can shred. Song after song, he blasted away on his reverb-laden axe and just when you thought you’d seen him at his full capability, along came another solo to blow you away.
His crowd interactions started off a tad awkward, but as he got more comfortable on stage so did his schtick, and he blessed the audience with some great banter. Including a story about how they got into a car crash earlier in the day (he’s fine though), as well as throwing a beach ball into the crowd that sideman Gareth “nearly passed out” from blowing up.
A personal highlight was his song Soldiers, written for his grandfather when he had a heart attack a few years ago, which allowed LAKYN to connect with the audience in a way that left the crowd silent and stunned. After ducking off stage for a few seconds, LAKYN reappeared to give a rousing solo rendition of Madonna’s Like A Prayer which – in my opinion – gives the original a run for its money.
In short, LAKYN is one talented dude and puts on a hell of a show. If you ever get the chance to see him, it would definitely be worthy of your time.
Catch LAKYN live on the final two nights of his & Pains EP tour:
Fri 28 Sept – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Thurs 4 Oct – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne