This past Wednesday evening, 300 of London’s most devoted soul fans descended on Kamio in Shoreditch to enjoy the official launch party of soul survivor Omar Lye-Fook MBE’s divine new album Love In Beats. Crammed in a semi-tropical, subterranean sweatbox, the crowd covered every base as one nation under his irresistible groove.
Taking the stage with a nonchalant and understated confidence, Omar exuded warmth from the beginning—the same warm, inclusive feeling that the new album radiates. Choosing not just to showcase the quality new material, but also opting to delight his enthralled audience with songs spanning his 30-year career, the performance demonstrated a man utterly at ease with his place in the firmament of the UK music scene. When his guests Ty, Natasha Watts and The Floacist popped up to perform their guest spots on the new album, praising Omar’s excellence and status, he cut a bashful, humble figure—a man reveling in just doing what he loves.
Characterized by loose-limbed, liquid-hipped funk, highlights of Omar’s performance included “I Guess,” the swagger of “The Man” and the always immaculate cover of William DeVaughan’s classic “Be Thankful for What You Got”, before the monstrously smooth “There’s Nothing Like This” reminded everyone how little he has changed in the 27 years since the song was first unveiled.
As the evening ended and journeys home began, an overriding feeling of joy took hold and refused to let go, beaming, satisfied smiles impervious to the grim weather that held sway. Not only was the music top quality, but you suspect the man himself is too. Ever the gentleman, he even apologized for his off-the-cuff swearing. He was right though, it was fucking boiling.