Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Mark Ronson is a friend to the stars. He’s hung out with Puffy, he chills with Ghostface and he’s the producer du jour for the big names in pop. So when the ex-pat does a UK tour, you can be pretty sure you’re going to see a host of guests and he didn’t disappoint in London.
Opening with an instrumental version of Apply Some Pressure, Ronson took to the stage in his dapper suit, strumming his guitar nonchanantly [when they plugged it in!] and his band backing him up superbly, especially the trio of brass players. It wasn’t long before the guest vocalists joined Mark on stage with Daniel Merriweather being the most prominent, running through Amy [in place of Kenna] before rapper Wale came out to do his thing on Toxic as Ronson hit the decks for his best track, Ooh Wee.
Londoner Tawiah took her place at the front of the stage to give her own version of the Lily Allen fronted Oh My God and returned for a piece of the action on Pretty Green and the hugely successful and infinitely popular Valerie. Whilst it was a shame there was no Winehouse, it wasn’t surprising and Tawiah did a good job covering.
Alex Greenwald was then bounding out in his overly long t-shirt [going for that rap look Alex old chap?] to break out Just which got a rousing response from the crowd, including Mark’s mum on the balcony, before he returned for the finale to perform his California track. The rendition of Stop Me got the biggest cheer of the night as the Empire turned into a glorified Karaoke bar, the audience belting out the tune louder than Merriweather as the horns went into overdrive. Add Estelle, Baby J and a host of UK rappers from the Valerie remix and you can imagine how full the stage was by the end!
But the high point of the night was definitely the inclusion of Sean Lennon, who walked on stage in a waistcoat, looking sheepish yet assured as he performed a Beach Boys track and then We Can Work It Out, the Beatles classic.
Ronson might not be a showman, he might not be the most entertaining of frontmen, but with a little help from his friends, he was able to get the packed venue on his feet and smiling non-stop.