This week, I went to three different shows: Sarah Close and Callum Stewart, Lorde and Khalid, and BBC Music Introducing Live (George Ezra, Nao, Everything Everything, Declan McKenna, Slaves…). These three are definitely some of my favourite shows to date – I’d never seen any of these artists live before (apart from George Ezra and Callum Stewart) so it was very special to see them perform.
On Wednesday, I went to see Sarah Close at The Haunt in Brighton and she absolutely smashed her set! I first started listening to Sarah when I stumbled upon her cover of The Weeknd’s ‘The Hills’ and I fell in love with her voice, and the way she can make every song her own. Last March, she released her debut single Call Me Out, which was followed by her EP Caught Up the month after. All four songs would be best described as pop songs with an indie twist. She recently signed a record deal with Parlophone Records and just last month, she released her second single Only You. Close oozed with confidence and genuine passion for performing as she blitzed through her original tracks as well as a medley of covers. It’s so lovely seeing Sarah perform on stage instead of just in front of a camera playing her piano – I loved how natural she looked on stage and the little dances she did during instrumental breaks!
Sarah Close was supported by Irish singer/songwriter Callum Stewart, who I’d actually already seen perform live when he performed at Brighton Komedia supporting Seafret. Stewart was equally as impressive the second time around, with his ballads leaving everyone stunned at the fact that he’s only 19 years of age! I spoke to him after the gig and he is the nicest guy going. He is definitely one to watch for the future.
Three days later, my dream of seeing Lorde came true. It seems like forever since she first released Pure Heroine at the ripe age of 17, and her growth, both personally and musically, is pretty evident in Melodrama. The record dives deep into her emotions to produce a well written and structured album on all the different feelings you go through at the age of 19/20. In the sold-out Brighton Centre, she performed one of the best sets I’d ever seen live. She really is as angelic as you’d imagine her to be – from her outfits to her voice. Her monologue just before Liability nearly set me off to a teary-eyed mess. I’d never seen anyone let themselves become as vulnerable on stage like she did when she spoke about “this intense loneliness”. That’s what Melodrama is all about – it’s personal. It’s vulnerable. It’s intense.
Lorde was supported by Khalid who is also a 19 year old with talent and confidence well beyond his age. Khalid is possibly one of my favourite performers of all time – his energy and genuine love for music was so nice to see. It was definitely my favourite set from a support act, and I would recommend any music lover to listen to Khalid and see him live when he tours one day.
The following Wednesday, I took a trip up to Brixton to see BBC Music Introducing Live which featured 10 artists including: George Ezra, Slaves, Everything Everything, and the surprise act which turned out to be Jake Bugg! Admittedly, I didn’t know much about BBC Introducing before I went to see it live because my friend bought the tickets. In short, BBC Introducing is all about discovering and supporting local and unsigned artists through their Uploader. Artists can send their tracks to the Uploader which, if liked, can be played on local radios and sometimes even broadcasted on stations such as BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, etc. 14 UK No. 1 Singles and 28 UK No. 1 Albums later, BBC Music Introducing celebrates its 10 year birthday! All of the artists who performed were all discovered through BBC Introducing and though I didn’t know a lot about it, I would definitely recommend any aspiring musicians to upload their tracks onto the Uploader. Ed Sheeran did.
A lot of the artists who performed were new to me but after their 30 minute sets, I soon found new favourites, especially in Nao, Slaves, and Everything Everything. I just love how different each and every artist was: Nao was soulful and funky; Slaves were raw and proved punk will never die; Everything Everything were the perfect mix of indie and rock. They teased a secret act throughout the show and I had an inkling that it would be Jake Bugg, but I had no idea that he would actually come out on stage! Bugg performed a few tracks from his new album and finished off his (very quick) set with Lightning Bolt. I’m even more excited to see him live next month! George Ezra was George Ezra. I’d already seen him live at Wild Life 2017 and he’s still as cool and charming as you’d like. Of course he performed Budapest and Don’t Matter Now, and of course he orchestrated the whole of Brixton Academy into singing every lyric. You can watch the performances here.