Lewis Watson has always been a favourite artist of mine, all the way back to his early YouTube days in 2011, so getting the opportunity to finally see him perform live was nothing less than a dream come true and a nostalgic trip down memory lane. With 4 EPs already under his belt and having just released a second album, there was no doubt Lewis would be short of material on what was bound to be a remarkable evening.
After a slightly hectic train journey to Manchester Oxford Road, myself and partner in crime (Molly Moe) arrived at Sound Control, a venue where I’d previously seen fellow YouTube star Gabrielle Aplin. Soon it was time for Slowlights, who wowed the crowd instantly with their feel-good melodies- similar to that of both Kodaline, Eliza & the Bear and Of Monsters And Men. Along with So Far (which could be the soundtrack for any upbeat montage in an indie rom com), Slowlights also debuted a new song, commenting to the crowd to be brutally honest if it was bad. However, it received a great response from everyone in the room and is a track I look forward to hearing again in the future. To finish up the band played their newest release I Try So Hard, a single you should definitely check out for its upbeat and versatile ability to fit into any summer playlist with ease.
Shortly after, Lewis and his full band, appeared on stage to a room full of cheers, jumping straight into Maybe We’re Home – the opening track from his newest record, Midnight. Capturing to audience instantaneously, the entire venue was alive with the admiration and awe for the talented singer songwriter. One thing I loved was how it felt as if there was no barrier between the artist and the fans, as Lewis continued to encourage people to sing along and join in. Most songs began with an introduction on their history and how they were written- something which would cause some fans to shout out which song he was talking about, and also seemed to add to the intimacy of the evening.
Changing to a solo set mid gig, which included Into The Wild, Hello Hello, and an unplugged and stripped back version of Halo, the exceptional ability of Lewis’ vocals and talents shone out. It would be difficult for me to pick highlights of the night as the whole evening felt like a surreal experience of music appreciation and tranquillity, but seeing Bones played after having first heard it 5 years ago was a memorable experience, especially when the whole room is singing along with you. Other songs I loved include la sun, a song whose demo featured on the deluxe version of Lewis’ first album, before being rework for his second, and also Stay, which was written about a song Lewis heard in a dream.
Returning for his encore, Lewis weaved his way into the centre of the crowd with only his guitar and broke into a stripped back version of Made up Love Song #43, which featured on his 2013 EP Four More Songs, a cover performed originally by Guillemots. As Lewis involved the whole room and encouraged everyone to join in, even going to the extent of splitting the room to sing different parts of the song, it felt magical to see everyone bond over their shared love for one person’s music and was a truly perfect end to a intimate night of music.
Featured Photo Credit: RedBrick
Lewis Watson’s Midnight is now available to digitally purchase and stream on all streaming services including Spotify & Apple Music. Physical copies are available to purchase via Watson’s official online store.