Katy B – review

XOYO, London
London's dance-music doyenne unveils a euphoric new set that sounds exactly the way a great night out clubbing can feel

Dance music is sometimes dismissed as a lightweight, ephemeral concern. Uniquely among today's mainstream, chart-friendly electronic-music artists, Katy B recognises that a great hedonistic clubbing night – far from being a trivial matter – can be such a satisfying and profound experience that it verges on the sacred.

Two years ago, the London-born Kathleen Brien's debut album, On a Mission, proved her to be a fantastic evangelist and ambassador for the clubbing experience. Katy B doesn't make dance music as a convenient careerist move, but because she is steeped in it, on a weekly basis: "It's great to be playing a show at XOYO," she says, glancing around this east London cellar club. "I've had so many amazing nights here."

Her imminent second album, Little Red, looks likely to mirror its predecessor's success, because she has stuck fast to her guiding musical roots and inspirations and opted to reunite with Geeneus, the man behind the grime/dubstep radio station, Rinse FM, that spawned her.

Bouncing around the stage tonight, a flame-haired dynamo, she unveils winning, frequently euphoric new material whose achievement is to sound exactly like clubbing feels. The urgent, stabbing synths of the insatiable Next Thing capture the visceral thrill of an all-nighter; single 5am aches with the itchy melancholy that descends at dawn when the music is finally over.

"This one goes out to all the 24-hour party people," she cries defiantly as she ends an all-too-short set with Lights On, itself a song about willing the night to never end. As she skips off stage, Katy B looks just what she is: an obsessive punter who loves dancing so much that she feels compelled to make great music to dance to.

• What have you been to see lately? Tell us about it on Twitter using


Ian Gittins

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Lovebox festival review – scorching temperatures, dodgy sound
Joey Bada$$ did his best to raise Lovebox's crowds from their summer torpor, Nas performed Illmatic like an old pro, but MIA was defeated by terrible audio, writes Tshepo Mokoena

Tshepo Mokoena

20, Jul, 2014 @10:46 AM

Article image
Katy B review – eclectic set buoys up Liverpool Pride
Out of her natural club environment, and thrust on to a pigeon-strewn, rainy promenade, Katy B compensated by having something for everybody, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

03, Aug, 2014 @11:28 AM

Article image
Katy B: Little Red – review
Katy B's authentic dancefloor savvy now comes with a few more cares of the world, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

09, Feb, 2014 @12:06 AM

Article image
Katy B - review

First-night nerves prove Katy B breaks the Brit School mould, writes Caroline Sullivan

Caroline Sullivan

01, May, 2011 @8:30 PM

Article image
Katy B on her new album, raving and sticking to her pirate radio roots
The Mercury-nominated On a Mission turned Katy B in to a dubstep star. But to record her followup album, she has gone back to former pirate radio station Rinse FM where she first made her name singing hooks on grime tracks, she tells Sam Wolfson

Sam Wolfson

11, Jul, 2013 @6:00 PM

Article image
Best albums of 2011, No 2: Katy B – On a Mission

Not only did Katy B showcase a new direction for dance music, she offered a fresh perspective on love, lust and London nightlife

Sam Wolfson

15, Dec, 2011 @1:12 PM

Capital FM Summertime Ball – review
Kudos to Jennifer Lopez for overcoming the homogeneity of these chart-toppers, writes Alex Macpherson

Alex Macpherson

13, Jun, 2011 @4:47 PM

Article image
Jessie Ware: Devotion – review

Tim Jonze: Jessie Ware doesn't seem to be gunning for pop stardom or chart domination. But it all could happen anyway

Tim Jonze

16, Aug, 2012 @3:29 PM

Article image
Katy B: 'The first time I was top of the bill, I was proper freaked out'
Katy B became a fixture in the British charts this year, and earned a Mercury prize nomination along the way, writes Eleanor Morgan

Eleanor Morgan

18, Dec, 2011 @12:06 AM

Article image
Katy B: Little Red – review

Divided between the dancefloor and the break-up, Katy B's attempt to show us her mature side falls short, writes Tim Jonze

Tim Jonze

06, Feb, 2014 @2:59 PM