Friday 2 August 2013

MKS @ Scala, London

Hear that? It’s the collective sigh of relief from the pop community. The originals are back.  Forget the ITV show, this is the big reunion.

The first burning question for this, their first comeback gig as MKS, was the contents of the set list.  Will they sing the old classics, or will they distance themselves from the Sugababes and stick to new material?  In fact, the gig was split fairly equally.   Beginning with Overload to great cheers from the crowd, they went on to sing Run For Cover, Stronger and Freak Like Me, in addition to new single Flatline and the Kendrick Lamar sampling Lay Down In Swimming Pools.  The girls also performed some tracks from their forthcoming album, including comeback anthem I’m Alright, the deep bassy Love Me Hard, and the trip hop Boys amongst others.  Each slotted in with the older material – polished, contemporary, yet recognisably the MKS sound with tight vocal harmonies and impressive individual runs.

Their audience has certainly shifted over the last decade, however.  “Does anyone in here like boys?” asked Keisha, to the screaming delight of the predominantly twentysomething male crowd.  MKS certainly have diehard fans, but whether they can lure in a younger audience remains to be seen.

The defining moment of the night came during Siobhan’s middle eight solo on Stronger – originally sung by Heidi – followed by a great roar that erupted from the crowd.  “Don’t fuck with the originals”, shouted one guy, a mantra at the heart of the devoted fans who showered the girls in praise and support throughout.  The atmosphere was electric, filled with relief and excitement for a new era.

Most of all, though, was the support the girls gave each other.  Gone are the moody faces replaced by smiles, winks and camaraderie as they equally shared vocal duties.  Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan simply work together: they look right, they sound right, and they feel right.  “We’ve each been through so much together”, Keisha said as she thanked the crowd for their support.  Now the girls are finally back and stronger than ever.


Listen: Flatline is released on September 1st.