Live Review: Black Country, New Road – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London 10.10.2023

Fearghal McGlinchey

Words and photos by Fearghal McGlinchey

On Tuesday night, the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London was treated to a captivating performance by the enigmatic and experimental band, Black Country, New Road. It was my very first time seeing the band perform so I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but from the very first note to the final encore, myself and the rest of the crowd were held in rapt attention, making it a night to remember.

The setlist began with a burst of energy, as the band opened with ‘Up Song’, setting the tone for what was to come. The intricate instrumentation and emotionally charged vocals immediately drew the audience in. This was followed by ‘The Boy’ and ’24/7 365 British Summer Time,’ each song showcasing the band’s unique blend of genres. 

Midway through the set, Black Country, New Road treated the audience to ‘Laughing Song’ and ‘Horses’. These songs provided a welcome change of pace, with moments of haunting melancholy and introspection that resonated with the crowd. The band’s ability to shift between different moods and musical styles is a testament to their versatility and creativity.

The band then switched it up with ‘Dancers’, a fan favourite that had the audience swaying to its mesmerising rhythms. The final song of the night was a reprise of ‘Up Song,’ which brought the performance full circle, creating a sense of closure and unity.

One of the standout aspects of the evening was the connection between the band and the audience. The crowd was tuned into every song, listening intently to the poetic lyrics and the complex arrangements. The atmosphere was thrilling, and it was evident that both the band and the audience were sharing a unique and unforgettable experience.

As touched on previously, their ability to seamlessly blend genres, their poignant lyrics and their captivating stage presence left a lasting impression on everyone in attendance. It was a night where music created a sense of togetherness in the room. After experiencing Black Country, New Road live for the first time – straight away I know it won’t be my last.

 If you ever have the opportunity yourself, do not hesitate – it’s an event you won’t want to miss.

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