Rita Ora - V Festival Hylands Park review

'Someone who could break the pop mould'

Photographer:Shirlaine Forrest

Chris Eustace - 19 August 2012

It's been a whirlwind 2012 for Rita Ora, and three successive number one singles have justified the hype which had her down as the next big pop sensation. Accordingly, there are people spilling out of the Arena Tent, the entire thing filled to bursting point to see her, and while festivals are a relatively new thing for her, she's already got the stage patter down, telling the Chelmsford crowd: "You're louder than yesterday" early on.

What people really want are the songs though, and latest smash 'How We Do' is played obligingly early, complete with Notorious B.I.G. sample at the start to acknowledge the use of his 'Party & Bullshit' as the song's hookline. While the reggae-filed R'n'B of 'Shine A Light' is the closest Ora gets sound-wise to Rihanna, the person who she's compared to most, but this set reveals a voice closer to Gwen Stefani or Jessie J if she was less fond of endless vocal gymnastics.

There's room to show off her versatility with a cover of Frank Ocean's 'Swim Good', "I wish he was here today" she says, lamenting the Odd Future man's cancellation. Singer Nneka gets up onstage to help sing a closing 'R.I.P.', not that Rita needs any additional help, with seemingly the entire tent hollering it back. In the end, it's a bit frustrating that the set is so short, with no real time to reveal how her imminent debut album will sound. It's a shame too that her backing band are all drums and no subtlety. We can only hope that someone who could break the pop mould won't just settle for being typical.


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