The term ‘boy band’ might immediately make you think of girls screaming at a group of hair-gelled and check-shirted lads, who were put together by a record label or a reality contest based on their teen-idol potential. The stereotype can be a misleading one and MIC LOWRY are here to show us why.
The five Liverpool-born members – Ben Sharples, Kaine Ofoeme, Akia Jones, Delleile Ankrah and Michael Welch – began singing together in vocal workshops ran by a local music development company, Positive Impact. In 2011, they decided to fuse their talents and start a vocal harmony group. From performing in small venues around Liverpool, MiC Lowry have since won the 2014 MOBO Unsung award, performed on the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury, and ended 2016 by supporting Justin Bieber on his European tour. Embarking on their own tour this year, the group complete this rousing circle when they make their homecoming at a packed O2 Academy, delivering the outstanding vocal abilities that give MiC Lowry their edge.
The evening begins with support from MAHALIA, whose sensitive acoustics and high spirits delight the already buzzing crowd. They enthusiastically sing along to her cover of Rihanna’s Work, which maintains the smooth rhythm of the original, while adding her own tender and soulful twist with slick guitar strums and lovely vocals. Mahalia’s own tracks, Back Up Plan and Social Media, offer relatable and encouraging lyrics from the uplifting perspective of a thoughtful young woman. Mahalia points to issues that evidently resonate with the mostly teenage crowd who quickly pick up her catchy lyrics.
When it’s their turn to enter the fray, MiC Lowry are welcomed to the stage by the excited cheers of a warm audience as they readily launch into the first track of the night, Saving All My Love. The performance is stripped back and relies on the synchronised rhythm of their stunning vocal collaboration, as each member brings their own passionate sound and technique. Varying in pitch and tone, their voices bring something different to each song in terms of emotion and rhythm. Influenced by the likes of Boyz II Men and Jagged Edge, Tuxedo and Bad Intentions are reminiscent of old school soul and RnB. The group effortlessly blend their silvery vocals into slick harmonies onstage, whilst confidently dancing to the smooth and buoyant beats. Not only delivering upbeat tracks, the emotive RnB ballad Heart Of Yours causes mass swoons in the crowd with its slow and gentle rhythm.
Similarly to Bieber, the group gathered a fan base via online platforms such as YouTube, where they have posted many notable covers and mash-ups. Tonight, the group treat us to impressive covers of Bryson Tiller’s Exchange and Don’t, as well as Sweet Love by M-Beat. They inject an exciting funk vibe into the evening, with catchy beats that rile the singing crowd and unite them in a groove. Recently released single, Oh Lord – an adaptation of Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight – is a prime example of the group’s dynamic and complex musical technique. The overall richness of their performance promises plenty more musical treats from these talented young men.