It’s an easy assumption to make – that good record sales, a string of minor hit singles, slots on national television and headlining the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on a crisp Wednesday evening would equate to a confident performer. Not so, it would appear.
From the moment Kristian Leontiou walked onto stage his demeanour was somewhat reticent, his physical performance very vanilla (Freddie Mercury he is not) and, on occasion, confused. This was most notable when he held out his mike to the audience in an Eminem like fashion – although compatible with his rapper-esque taste in clothes (baggy jeans, a hooded sweat top and what looked like a beanie hat protruding from his back pocket) the action jarred with his own unique style of pop.
Yet it’s somehow excusable. Sure, some artists are born performers. Others have to work at it and Kristian, at only 22 years of age, is after all a mere pup in performance experience terms. Besides, what he lacks in showmanship he makes up for with his music and that smooth as silk voice…
The set, in which Kristian covered the songs from his debut album Some Day Soon, that has sold over 200,000 copies to date, was somewhat short at only 45 minutes. He opened with the songs The Years Move On and Story Of My Life, his voice as captivating and beautiful as on his CD.
Less impressive though was his current single Some Say. The high note on, “One day we will be free” sounded very forced and ever so slightly off key.
By far, the highlight of his set was Shining. Its tenaciously determined lyrics, “I will not be beaten, you have yet to see me shining” striking a chord with the middle-of-the-road Dido-album owning audience.
A nice change of pace came with a cover of Tracy Chapman‘s Fast Car, Kristian telling the audience, “[It] is the best song I ever heard.” Sadly, this was one of far too few moments of spoken interaction. On two occasions he hinted, “Feel free to sing along,” but with his lush tones the phrase, ‘Why have a dog and bark yourself’ sprang to mind.
With so much going for him – a velvety voice and music as catchy as pop plague – it’s a real shame Kristian Leontiou comes across as such an inexperienced performer. Fingers crossed that with more and more gigs under his proverbial belt he will find his stage persona. Only time will tell.