Nick Hakim live in London: an intoxicating evening with a cult star

March 18, O2 Forum Kentish Town: A performance so tender, the US musician's ballads resemble a love letter to music itself

Nick Hakim’s music serves as a sonic salve for the soul. The soulful crooner emerged from Washington DC in 2014 debut EP that set out his stall and with each subsequent release his stardom has steadily increased; he’s now perfected his own melting pot of alt-rock and psychedelic soul, often through meditations on the duality of fear and determination. ‘Green Twins’ (2017), his hauntingly beautiful debut, was inspired by the Chilean folk songs of his youth and led to last year’s ‘Cometa’, garnering co-signs from Erykah Badu and more.

Despite the throbbing crowds at London’s The Forum – this final spot on this European jaunt – the entire 60-minute performance is so relaxed and intimate it feels as though you’ve stumbled into a late-night studio session with Hakim and his band. It’s all very much on brand for a creator as adept at crafting a vibe like no other. His opener ‘Green Twins’ is deeply soulful, crafting a dream-like state in the crowd. The cascading serenade of ‘Bet She Looks Like You,’ lovers are seemingly lost in each other’s arms, forming their own bubble of existence.

Nick Hakim
Credit: Molly Daniel

Hakim and his band sail in with the heady vocal harmonies and woozy synths of ‘Ani’, the opener from latest album ‘Cometa’, where he chants the refrain “I’m not going nowhere ’til we’ve fueled it / Spinning fast as hell, can’t tell what’s moving”. Released in the latter half of last year, the album is a refreshing musical treatise on how we can learn to love ourselves, illuminating the journey of growth as we discover our true potential, much like Hakim himself.


‘QADIR’, a lengthy tribute to his late friend, Qadir Imhotep West, is the evening’s most touching moment, one where the message is rooted in a sense of hope and unity while the arrangement builds into a monument of flute and keys: “There seems to be a complexity / To being kind / To your space / To your temple / To your neighbours”. The Brooklyn-musician half-bows, reiterates his love and appreciation for everyone who came to support him, shaking the crowd out of their sonic hypnosis as he nonchalantly stalks off stage. Hakim has that power on people; a personality whose outsized music takes precedence; a true, honest creator.

Nick Hakim played: 

‘Green Twins’
‘Only One’
‘Feeling Myself’
‘I Don’t Know’
‘Bet She Looks Like You’
‘Needy Bees’
‘Roller Skates’


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