At the crest of a burgeoning new wave of talented London acts, ubiquitous youngster Cosmo Pyke’s appeal stretches far beyond just that of his musical abilities. Also an established skateboarder, graffiti artist and model – with both a unique look and insouciant charm – he possesses the rare ability to command attention without even wanting it, but it would be a great injustice to detract from the fact that the singer-songwriter’s musical output is well worthy of the praise it has been receiving.
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It’s the biggest headline show to date for the 19 year-old, born just a few streets from tonight’s venue – the iconic Bussey Building in Peckham – so the event is both a homecoming and something of a coming-of-age. The sell-out crowd confirms his flourishing popularity. It’s a noticeably younger audience, the more eager of whom bop around to the funky sounds of support band Smooth Ends before Cosmo, displaying his youthful exuberance and musical dexterity, joins second support act Ammi Boyz on stage for the duration of their lively slot.
A nationwide tour earlier in the year in support of debut EP Just Cosmo and a recent prime slot at Brighton’s Great Escape festival, among other achievements, have seen Pyke gain recognition at frightening speeds; the video for the hazy single ‘Chronic Sunshine’ has racked up well in excess of a million views whilst a recent feature article in The Guardian has helped to cement Cosmo’s position at the vanguard of a generation of exciting new acts emerging out of the capital.
“Wow, I can’t believe all of you people are here to watch me play” gushes Cosmo returning to the stage for his solo performance, the magnitude of the occasion clearly not lost on him. But he quickly finds his stride with the first of his slack, jazz-infused indie ballads, ‘The Great Dane’. At times reminiscent of veteran Pete Doherty, Cosmo’s languid stage presence – as he restlessly oscillates beneath the harsh lights whilst arbitrarily jabbing at disjointed chords and improvised segues – perfectly complements the woozy tracks of the recently-released EP, all of which get an airing during the set.
Despite the lackadaisical demeanour, Cosmo remains sharp and socially aware; “This one’s for Manchester” he announces in an adopted Manc accent, dedicating ‘After School Club’ to the victims of the recent atrocity in the city. He appears to be at home on the stage, exuding authenticity and a confidence beyond his years and seemingly undeterred by the occasion as he goes on to please the excitable audience with standout track ‘Social Sites’.
New song ‘Railroad Tracks’ seems to pick up where Just Cosmo left off, maintaining the slovenly chords and candid lyricism of the EP; observing with sharp-wit and precocious awareness, the formative and unforgiving realm of relationships and young manhood.
An anthemic rendition of ‘Chronic Sunshine’ brings the set to a close, with the crowd singing the lyrics back to the tangibly delighted youngster and, seeing him stick around after the show to pose for photos and show his appreciation to swarms of fans, you can’t help but wish him every success.
It may seem premature to say so with just one release under the belt…but watch this space!