I remember it was during my final days at university that I had first discovered PARTYNEXTDOOR (PND). This alternative sounding R&B that had roots of neo-soul, electronic and trap was new to me at the time and new to many too. PND, with the help of label-head Drake, dropped what has now become a cult classic ep, PARTYNEXTDOOR and from there, his rise to the top began. He then featured and produced on a number Drake tracks that led to PND being one of the main figures in Drake’s recent success and sound. With a host of projects under his belt and PND being the one behind Rihanna’s “Work” and DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts”, it was finally time for me to see PND live.
I spent many pre-drink sessions listening to “Break From Toronto” and “Recognize” as I used to chase inebriation. And it was these two songs that PND opened his sold-out show at Brixton’s o2 Academy. Hearing the Miguel sample on “Break From Toronto” echo around the packed Brixton Academy and the sing-along to Party’s lyrics: “I want you” on “Recognize” was quite something. Quite an impressive way to start a concert with PND’s setlist choices were to hit fans with a bang from the off.
After introducing himself to everyone, he continued to blast through his older stuff with songs like “Wild Bitches” and “Wus Good / Curious” with the young crowd singing along word for word. Now that he had reminded the audience of his old hits, he wanted to then remind us how he’s been a major player in Drake’s career in recent years where he performed “With You” off Drake’s VIEWS and the self-produced “Preach” off of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. The pair of Drake songs got the crowd moving in unison and was a great reminder of PND’s production game.
Realising the strong afrobeat following in London PND performed Major Lazer’s “Run up” that he features on and then sang the songs he penned for Rihanna and DJ Khaled with “Work” and “Wild Thoughts”. At this point, the concert became a party and here we could really experience PND’s Caribbean roots as he effortlessly sang the patois lyrics on “Work” and commanded the Brixton-faithful to dance.
He previewed his latest collab with Calvin Harris with “Nuh Ready Nuh Ready” and demonstrated his vocal ability with one of my personal favourites on COLORS 2 with “Better Man” which he confidently crooned. He closed the show with the rhythmic “Not Nice” to bring back the earlier dancing energy but then brought it back to mellow vibes with the ballad “Come and See Me” which was an alluring sight seeing thousands of people tranced by PND’s vocals. Canadian is a great performer with a great discography at his display.