Saint Raymond, The Mispers LIVE @ Oxford 02 Academy 24.3.14

It’s not every Monday that I find myself crammed into the O2 academy, being splashed with beer from overexcited youths. However, it was only a matter of time before I had joined them, cider in hand.

Queen of Afros, Kimberly Anne, was first on stage. Despite the technical difficulties she managed to joke her way through, the crowd went wild for her new African beats. She was truly humbled when we joined in, echoing harmonies of song “La La” and belting out the words to latest single ‘Hard as Hello’, which has been remixed by Bastille.

Following Kimberly were a bunch of rowdy boys. Unsure whether they were the next act or just some out of control audience members, I searched for some clues. To answer my question, lead singer Jack Balfour Scott roared down the microphone “How you doing!? We’re The Mispers, let’s get groovy” and with a bang they careered into their first number. The Mispers is a name I’ve heard chucked around a lot in recent months, and they definitely showed me why; racing drums, trembling vocals and most noticeably front man Jack’s impressive thrusting. The energy of their set was in competition with the likes of Crystal Fighters, and there wasn’t a dull moment.

The buzz grew louder as the anticipation for main act Saint Raymond overflowed uncontrollably. Lights dimmed and gasps from teenage fans filled the room as the band sauntered on stage.

Instruments in hand, they began the intro with Saint Raymond nowhere in sight. Becoming increasingly worried he’d miss his cue, we held our breath for his arrival. Just as they approached the chorus, Callum bounced on stage immediately launching into Escapade EP track ‘The River’. He had captivated the crowd within one verse.

Next up was recently re-released single ‘Everything She Wants’, which was featured as Zane Lowe’s “Hottest Record in the World” only days before. To this crowd pleaser, we all sang out of tune as Burrows grinned with appreciation, the infectious melody moving even the reluctant.

Callum treated us to new ballad ‘Brighter Days’ in which he cries “In love on Sunday, we’ve lost it by Monday. Oh how I love her” and our hearts melted. To his disappointment it may have been a Monday but love was not lost, no, we were head over heels for young Burrows.

As Saint Raymond switched guitars and gave us time to catch our breaths, a woman behind commented “Crikey!” as she overheard us discussing Callum’s upcoming 19th birthday. Crikey indeed, lady.

This remarkably young chap has had one heck of a year and we’re not even half way through; he was named by iTunes as an “Artist to Watch” in 2014, followed by the release of his Young Blood EP which reached No.3 in the main iTunes chart in less than 24hrs. To make things even better, Burrows seems to become more handsome with each year. Hurrah for the ladies!

Saint Raymond was invited to record a Maida Vale session for Radio 1, in which he revealed cover of The Jam’s ‘English Rose’ as his encore for biggest UK tour to date, covering 10 dates across the country. This adored cover was the main reason I was in attendance, and when the moment came the room was hushed into pure amazement. His voice, silky and laced with clarity, serenaded our dumbfounded little faces, whilst we stared in disbelief.

Amongst the crowd was singer Lewis Watson, he had come to see Kimberly Anne and Saint Raymond, who previously supported Watson on his UK tours. Lewis brimmed with pride as if a parent seeing his children blossom before his eyes. The early fans in the audience mimicked this adoration as Callum warbled enchanting harmonies.

He ended with notorious ‘Fall at your Feet’ the crowd giving its’ all before the night drew to a close. Being no stranger to Saint Raymond’s sets I awaited the final guitar solo and electric chorus to conclude, but found myself dreading the final drop. We were perfectly content to remain in this fantasy for a while longer.

However hard we tried, alas it came, the mellifluous cacophony ended and we shuffled out with just the memories of the night. If his set didn’t entice me to go again, I don’t know what could. Until next time, sir. (Or should I say, Saint.)

Fran Welch

Fran Welch

I'm musically inept- my only option left is to endlessly rant about other beautiful human beings making tuneful noise. hmu for the latest indie bands and a cracking playlist