Mystery has always been an important part of The Weeknd's whole shtick. Having dropped three hugely successful mixtapes, the first of which was preceded by no hype or co-signs, and the following ones only by the quality of the first volume (which bagged the singer a co-sign from fellow Toronto native Drake), along with only a handful of videos and sticking to a strictly "no interviews" policy, little is known about Abel Tesfaye. Whether The Weeknd is his alias or the name of a collective including the producers and musicians that surrounds him, we still aren't quite sure. And it's this mysterious phenomena that allows him to flog 289,000 units in a week when his previously free projects are released at retail, sell his live shows out within a minute of going on sale, and have a new genre cropping up every time a critic chooses to write about him.
The Weeknd's live show is our only glimpse of his personality other than what he has chosen to commit to record, and with his hazy drug veiled ballads, not a huge amount is allowed to seep through. On appearing on stage at Manchester's The Ritz, it's impressive how much like these recordings Abel sounds as he reels through fan favourites and new tracks, including 'High For This', his feature on Juicy J's latest single 'One Of Those Nights' and current single 'Twenty Eight'. Although the recordings are delivered stone-faced and seriously, the Canadian crooner can't help but drop in a cheeky smile here and there, along with the odd MJ-inspired dance move, as he looks on over his cult-like fanbase.