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Tinie oozes charm but still misfires

Who threw a shoe at Tinie Tempah? Jesus, lads, that could have actually hit the poor fella. To be fair, I don't think they were aiming for him. Just caught up in the moment is all.

Indeed, hip hop's best-dressed gentleman has his hands full tonight.

What's it like on the floor? Well, half the blokes have their tops off. Enough said.

Tinie's Demonstration tour was supposed to touch down in Dublin before Christmas.

Alas, the British rapper needed more time to prepare before making the leap to arenas.

Now he's got a podium, a big screen and a spotlight that follows his every move.

On record, young Patrick Okogwu continues to serve up his club-ready brand of pop-fused, electro-rap headbangers.

There are two albums' worth of material to choose from, but the transition from speaker to stage isn't as easy as you'd think.

Decked out in a silver suit and shades, the 25-year-old performer oozes charm, and he's very good at working a crowd.

Most of the chap's tunes, however, feature guest artists, from pop-star princesses (Ellie Goulding) to whiz-kid producers (Labrinth). And they're not here tonight.

WEAKNESS

Instead, Tinie's band plays along to a backing track, which means our leading man ends up looking and sounding like a guest at his own party (that's what happens when you give your famous mates all the best bits, dude).

You wanna be a real rock star of rap? Then you go it alone or you ditch the DJ/rapper handyman at your side and hire a proper backing singer.

Clearly, Tinie's aiming for Watch the Throne territory, but this unfocused and ultimately underwhelming offering only serves to highlight his weaknesses.

He's a fairly decent rapper, and his unique style is that of a man in no mood to slow down.

The chit-chat is off balance, though (nobody here gives a damn about the "thought process" behind your songs, Tinie).

That said, when the pieces fall into place, Tinie's arena-sized rave can knock your socks off (Written in the Stars and a double-whammy of Miami 2 Ibiza and Tsunami provoke madness both on and off the stage).

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misfires (the awful Trampoline included). And what's the story with all those screeching guitar solos?

There is plenty of time yet to put things straight, but the whole point of postponing this tour was so that Tinie could offer fans his very best. This isn't it.

2 STARS


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