I must admit, I was a little apprehensive when entering Shepherds Bush Empire; I expected 2000 screaming fan girls (the kind you’d find at a 5SOS concert), but I was pleasantly surprised. There was a large amount of men and teenage boys supporting Lewis on his largest headline show to date, which, considering the nature of his music, shocked me slightly, but bought a huge grin to my face.
Playing the infamous opening slot was Swedish singer songwriter Andreas Moe, who braved the stage with only his guitar for company. He wowed the audience and interacted with the crowd in a very loveable way, and he even reminded me slightly of Ben Howard. Vocals were on point, hair was on point and I’m struggling to understand why this guy is unsigned. However, for me there was one problem, his lyrics were just a bit…cheesy. Having said that, who doesn’t love a bit of cheese?
Up next were Amber Run, I saw these guys supporting Kodaline and I loved them then, but they have definitely come a long way in the past 6 months. They are a Mumford and Sons/Bastille hybrid, mixing folk and pop elements to create a great sound. They actually managed to get the crowd pumped and jumping around, which is a mission and a half for support bands. Amber Run are a wonderful band, who I look forward to seeing on the headline slot in the near future.
For the first 20 or 30 seconds after Lewis Watson graced the stage, he looked like a deer in the headlights… then he looked around and a huge smile filled his face – the most genuine smile I’ve ever seen. It was clear how much this meant to him. He opened with the chilling sound of ‘Stones Around The Sun’, the first song on his debut album, The Morning. He went on to play a combination of songs from all five EPs and his album, allowing old and new fans to enjoy the songs that they know and love. A personal highlight for me was ‘Windows’ which I remember hearing for the first time on YouTube four years ago. For me (and I’m sure lots of other fans) it was the song that kick-started my love of his music, and it was crazy singing along to it with 2000 other people. However, where was ‘Bones’? Surely that’s a crowd favourite? Luckily, what he lacked in bones, he made up for at the end when he entered the crowd to sing his version of Guillemots’ ‘Made up love song #43’. This was such a heart warming moment; his dad could even be seen blowing kisses from the balcony. It just bugged me slightly that the people closest to Lewis were filming it. He’s right there! Look at him, not your phone! Sing, dammit!
This experience was one that I feel privileged to have been part of and reminded me of an Ed Sheeran gig I went to in 2011. I think it’s fair to say that Lewis Watson knows how to work a crowd and put on an impressive show. He has certainly come a long way since he was that fluffy haired boy posting covers on YouTube and I see wonderful things on the horizon for him.
Side note: I got the weirdest piece of merch I’ve ever seen…A Lewis Watson Frisbee!