“It seems like everyone’s got a gig on in Manchester tonight – even Real Madrid”. That was how Josh Kumra chose to begin his set at The Deaf Institute, along with a humble thanks to the small, but eager audience who stood (or sat) in front of him.
Before Kumra strolled onto the stage the audience had been treated to the powerful vocals of Amy Holford’s acoustic performances and an upbeat, but somewhat repetitive, set from Arlissa. Both support acts were welcomed by the quiet audience, but it was Holford’s set which stood out and got people excited about what was to follow.
Throughout his set Kumra worked his way through songs from his forthcoming album (Good Things Come To Those Who Don’t Wait – out April 15th) with the addition of an excellent rendition of Miguel’s Quickie. Whilst he is undeniably an extremely talented vocalist, songwriter and guitarist it was Kumra’s personality on stage that really shone through tonight. When introducing the aforementioned cover, he made it clear that the song was not his own, noting “my mum would kill me if I wrote these lyrics”. And later when he plays White and Black – a song he’s only performed on stage once before – he says “my manager tells me ‘Don’t apologise before a song’ but I think I need to”. As the song begins it quickly becomes a highlight of the set and it’s safe to say that absolutely no apology was necessary.
Still being in his early twenties, Kumra’s career is definitely on the way up. Having co-written and performed on Wretch 32’s number one single Don’t Go, his solo performance tonight adds a new dimension to the track. With this exposure already behind him, one can only hope that it will give him the platform to get his debut album the credit it deserves. By the time he next performs in Manchester, I doubt he’ll need to worry about who else is playing that night.