MNEK took to Parklife 2016’s ‘Big Top’ stage yesterday (June 11) and our reporter Nathan Salt was on the barrier to take in the in-demand vocalist…
It promised to be a big day for MNEK: starting at Parklife, then onto Wembley Stadium for Capital FM’s Summertime Ball before finishing the day at an event in Bournemouth.
Clad in a striking pink outfit, there was no way the rain was going to put a dampener on what promised to be a busy – but exciting – day for the young star.
Whilst a 20-minute set appeared overly brief, MNEK blended plenty of original and cover material into his sensationally vocalised set.
The 21-year-old continues to go from strength to strength after rising to global prominence on Gorgon City’s ‘Ready For Your Love’ – a track that was well received by the raucous crowd inside the Big Top.
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He has writing and production credits with everyone from Beyonce to Rudimental to Madonna but this is an artist who can, and does, shine in his own light.
In 20 minutes, it clicked amongst fans and newcomers that here was a musician with both a natural rhythm and a majestic vocal.
Original tracks such as ‘The Rhythm’ featured whilst higher profile songs such as his recent collaboration with Zara Larsson ‘Never Forget You’ and a mash up of Oliver Heldens ‘Overdrive’ and Karen Harding’s ‘Say Something’.
The London-born star was accompanied by a DJ and two backing singers – both of which grew in confidence as the set went on; helped immensely from the fact that their microphones were muted on early tracks.
It isn’t easy playing so early in the day as crowds are often small but the weather downpour saw floods of people stream into the Big Top for both shelter and entertainment.
Starting the day with MNEK was vindicated. Arguably one of the best vocal performances of the entire day – regardless of production levels and crowd size, this was an incredible successful and demonstrative set.
With time up before MNEK was due to play his final song, boos rang out to the member security that was making the call to shift the Londoner off the stage.
MNEK was not deterred in the slightest.
“We’ve got one more song – let’s do this Parklife!”
And what a song it was. His new single – vital promo demanded its inclusion in this set – is called ‘At Night (I Think About You)’ is his best original record to date with the focus placed on his vocal range.
His distinct synth backing sound adds the drop and pop element but this had those inside the tent jumping around without a care for the torrid weather conditions and muddy nature of their garments.
Next year give Manchester a bit longer than 20 minutes, ok MNEK?
By Nathan Salt