Photo by Josh Aberman
A low-key, but highly enthusiastic, set from up-and-coming R&B-soul artist [ K S R ] set the tone for Pip Millett’s January 12th gig at Islington Assembly Hall. “Listen, it’s important,’ he said between each of his songs, capturing the attention of the audience, not only with his octave-spanning voice but also his easygoing charm. ‘It’s [ K S R ], yeah? Box bracket, space K, space S, space R, box bracket. See, it’s easy!’
Photo by Josh Aberman
Around an hour of feel-good slow jams later, Pip enters. Dressed down in a cropped black tank top and dark wash jeans, and standing almost close enough to touch, her entrance feels more like meeting a friend than watching an artist with over 100 million streams to her name—a name which BBC Radio 1Xtra and Vevo have both marked as one to watch out for in 2022. Her image betrays none of these claims to fame. Her introduction is a down-to-earth expression of excitement, accompanied by a disarming smile. The staging, stripped back to the bare necessities—a guitar, drum kit, keyboard, bass, and microphone stand at centre-stage—already hints at the unembellished performance to come.
It’s clear that Pip Millett doesn’t need any embellishment, and neither did she need an introduction—the crowd screams before she even opens her mouth. ‘Her face is just unreal,’ comments a girl from somewhere behind me. ‘Marry me!’ Someone else shouts. (‘Talk to me after,’ Pip responds through surprised laughter.)
The first song of her set is ‘Heavenly Mother,’ an upbeat groove that instantly gets the crowd moving. It’s a crowd that has been waiting months to see her perform after half of her tour was postponed in October due to illness. Maybe absence made the crowd’s hearts grow fonder after all: the atmosphere is especially mellow and intimate, interspersed with friendly chatter and the occasional chanting of song lyrics. Pip performs each song standing in the same spot, only ever stepping back to sway from side to side. Her performance shows that low-intensity and high-energy can go hand-in-hand; besides, the ever-smiling guitarist dances around enough for the whole band. Despite her unassuming disposition, Pip’s voice has an old soul and an enrapturing power; it’s hard to keep your eyes or ears off of her. Maybe that’s why the same audience member shouts another ‘Marry me,’ after she’s sung ‘Like It Like That’, ‘Love The Things You Do’, and ‘June’. She laughs and launches into ‘Something ‘Bout The Rain,’ a change in tone, which might just be a tongue-in-cheek hint.
Midway through the concert, her smile shows no sign of fading. The lights change to a vibrant pink and green as she introduces a soulful cover of Bob Marley’s, ‘Could You Be Loved.’ The audience sings along with her before she moves on to her set’s second half. Whether it’s capturing the crooning vocals of ‘Hard Life’ and ‘Try a Little Tenderness,’ the breathy sensuality of ‘Fancy,’ or the heartfelt melancholy of ‘Best Things’ and ‘Sad Girls,’ one thing becomes clear: Pip Millett never misses. When she leaves after performing ‘Make Me Cry,’ her first-ever release, the crowd misses her, though.
Photos by Josh Aberman
To keep up with [ K S R ], check out his Instagram.
Edited by Josh Aberman, Music Editor
Photos selected by Michelle Mentu, Lead Music Photographer