King Charles at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

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Upon walking up to O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Thursday the 18th of April 2013 you could see large queues of people. All very excited. All of them there for one reason. The reason being, King Charles’ sold out 18th gig of his massive UK-wide April tour. Not many, myself included, quite knew what to expect but by the end of the night as the people began to pour out of the venue (which filled up rapidly as show time dawned), it became evident that everyone was pleased, ecstatic even. The show in London itself had several surprises, mostly in the form of the various supports, which came on before Charles himself.

The first was Giovanna Marshall, an incredibly talented singer/songwriter in her 20s. A keyboard and two backup singers, one of which had a laptop for the various beats that would accompany her soulful songs, were all that was needed for her set. As she took her place behind her keyboard not many people expected for such a hauntingly powerful voice to come out of such a petite young woman. Her musical talent was definitely shown not only through the songs themselves, but also through her vocal range. The connection between the lyrics, melodies, beats and her voice was effortless and very effective. As the audience swayed to her first few songs, her final song ‘Young Heart Player’ kicked off the energetic ambience, which would strengthen throughout the show.

After a short break, the next support act were the Parisian trio We Were Evergreen consisting of; Michael Liot, Fabienne Débarre and William Serfass. Now, this band is extremely multi-talented and their presence onstage left the crowd restless and pumped. The trio work well together and their voices seemed to harmonise perfectly with their upbeat songs, which got the crowd dancing. By saying that they’re multi-talented is definitely not an understatement. The medley of instruments that they had utilised (along with their voices) really showed this. These instruments include; drums, guitar, ukelele, a trumpet, a glockenspiel, a harmonica and several others. Now, one would probably find it hard to imagine how all of these instruments could come together in a song but if there’s a band that could do it, it’s We Were Evergreen. Their various musical talents all came together in their final song ‘Vintage Car’ that left the crowd wanting more.

With the mass of people having soaked up the great energy from the two supporting acts, various chants along the lines of ‘we want the King’ began to erupt. After the final break the crowd got what they wanted. The lights dimmed and King Charles’ voice began to ring out through the venue, as his band members appeared onstage. Very shortly after the crowd began to scream uncontrollably upon witnessing the infamous mass of dreadlocked hair appear onstage. Throwing off his fur coat he went straight into it. His set was made up of songs from his debut album ‘LoveBlood’ and songs from his upcoming album, including his hits such as ‘Mississippi Isabel’, ‘Bam Bam’, ‘Polar Bear’, ‘Lady Percy’ and the title song of his album ‘Love Blood’ and ‘Dance Forever’ a new song penned about the tour. Rarely leaving his myriad of guitars, except for ‘Polar Bear’ in which there was a moment when he climbed and sang on top of a speaker, the lyrics merged with the music and his vocals perfectly. One would think that doing a show every single night in a different city each night would take quite a large amount his energy, but this was most definitely not evident onstage. With a rather intense moshpit beginning during ‘Bam Bam’ that continued into the extremely sweet ‘Ivory Road’ and appearing at various moments until the end of his set, it becomes clear that this energy onstage transferred to the crowd. About halfway through his set we got a surprise. A beautiful surprise actually. A song with Jessica Tonder, whose vocals were exquisite, called ‘Love Is War’. Once the set was finished and the stage was empty everyone began to scream for an encore. What the people want, the people get. After singing a song with a single spotlight on King Charles, the man that everyone came to see, the encore ended on an electric note. ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ had the crowd dancing non-stop as he skilfully added references to current events such as Margaret Thatcher’s death. Upon knowing that the show had finished, many stayed to get their hands on memorabilia from a magical night.

All in all, the night was filled with a showcase of what music really is and should be as we were presented with a great variety of songs that made you both dance and think. It’s sad to see this magnificent tour coming to an end, but it leaves you with the thought that all of these artists have great things coming for them in the future. If you haven’t seen any of them live yet or listened to their music, I highly recommend that you do.

 

Author: Leila Idrissova

Leila is a music correspondent at Performance Reviewed that dabbles in theatre.