Tinashe Kachingwe has complained about not being taken seriously as a musician. The 21-year-old produced three mixtapes in her own bedroom studio before making a debut album with edgy producers including DJ Mustard and Dev Hynes — but her less recent past has undermined such credibility. Working in showbiz in LA since the age of four, she has starred in Two And A Half Men and supported Justin Bieber as one-sixth of girl group The Stunners.
Her solo show seemed to be designed to warm up for an arena act rather than embracing the darkness of the club. Hips thrusting in front of a blinding wall of lights, racing too quickly through many of her songs and performing to a backing tape with four dancers and a live drummer — all we needed was an extortionately priced hot dog for the full O2 experience.
Her set list was less mainstream than it could have been, with plenty of material from the less high-profile mixtapes. There was the occasional unexpected moment too, notably when the singer abandoned the stage to leave the audience with a man tapdancing to a pre-recorded guitar solo. Otherwise one could tick off the R&B staples — songs about how much sex she’s having (How Many Times), between-song suggestions that we ought to work to achieve our dreams, and songs about how much partying she manages between all that sex. Her voice had power and expression without anything that made it instantly recognisable.
The hit single, 2 On, had an irresistable bassline and a light touch. Far Side Of The Moon, with its raw drum clatter, and Bet, with its woozy synthscapes, were the best indications that she can be less predictable than she seemed on stage.