ERIC NAM | London, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Dressed in neatly ironed, flared disco trousers and patent leather shoes, Korean-American 33-year-old Eric Nam is true to form as K-pop’s cleanest cut matinée idol. With a slew of hits since 2013 in Korean and English, and millions of views on YouTube, Nam also puts on a fantastic live show for a sold out crowd at London.

Hits like “Runaway” come alive in a whole new way with his two backup dancers, with fun and flashy choreography that allow energy to fizz into the song’s slower moments. A live three-piece band of guitar, bass and drums adds a rocky punch to Nam’s usually silky smooth floor-fillers.

But the real treat for fans and newcomers alike is the show’s lengthy middle section where we hear Nam ‘unplugged’, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. Taking suggestions from the crowd for his own songs and covers, we are able to enjoy Nam’s voice unencumbered by studio production and effects. Nam is not one for flashy riffs or affected vocalising; his voice is just as pure whether belting out high notes or seducing us with quiet low notes.

There are times when Nam could be miming (is that perfect falsetto in “Wildfire” really live?), but Nam is such an unbelievably controlled and accomplished vocalist, and such a sweet, consummate professional with the crowd, it hardly matters. Nam asks for a cheer from the sold-out venue for who’s attending their first concert: it sounds like at least half. Nam thanks the crowd for the “movement” that is allowing “people who look like me” to pursue their dreams.

photo credit: @SarahNash82

Eric Nam is currently on a world tour for There and Back Again.

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