Gavin James has previously supported Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith on tour amongst others, building up a great following, and it was recently announced that he will be headlining Dublin’s 3Arena in December. Based on everything I’d already heard, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to watch him play and after promising to be on my best behaviour I was allowed to leave Manchester and venture to Liverpool to watch him on his current Bitter Pill album Tour.
The venue Liverpool Arts Club was very small and intimate, which on a personal note I loved. My friend, who was taking pictures for the night, joked the only way to get any closer would be a stage invasion.
First up was the support act Craig Gallagher, who within a minute of being on stage had everyone in the palm of his hand with his talent and his stories. There was an amazing connection between Craig and the crowd and being an intimate venue when anything was said by a member of the audience it was immediately and wittily responded to by him. The highlight was when told a story about a girl who dumped him by phone aged 15, while he was at a Snoop Dogg/P Diddy gig for an April Fools joke, which had everyone in hysterics but then he sang the most touching song he wrote about the experience which although is officially called ‘Back To The Start’, which has another unofficial title, which sadly, I cant write in this review. You’ll have to go to the gig to find out!
For the entire set it seemed like we were on an emotional rollercoaster of laughing, feeling deeply touched and then dancing and clapping wildly. Craig Gallagher was the perfect start to a great night and definitely worth checking out if you haven’t heard him before.
Next up was Gavin James, and with the crowd already well warmed up, when he came on stage to the soundtrack of R.Kellys Bump ‘n’ Grind the crowd immediately got the joke and joined in. He then pickeed up his guitar and randomly broke into performing a snippet of Eye Of The Tiger. Gavin James is not only immensely talented he is also instantly likeable, and has that self-deprecating wit that makes people watching feel instantly at ease.
He starts his set by playing Stay Another Day, he has a beautiful soulful voice that breaks into falsetto and performs as though you are the only person in the room. I noticed that almost everyone in the crowd knew all of the songs in his set especially his current hit Book Of Love and were singing them back to him, as well as giving him some banter to respond to, which he seemed to enjoy although that didn’t stop him at one point from telling a few very loud people to stop talking so he could continue to play.
There were many memorable/funny moments and it’s hard to choose between them, he sang his hit 22 and the previously lively crowd went completely silent until he’d finished singing. He also got into the middle of the crowd for a sing-along of Ray Charles You Don’t Know Me. The night ended with a duet of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark featuring Craig during which they spent most of the time not being able to sing for laughing and with Craig playing the Harmonica.
He mentioned that it was his first ever gig in Liverpool, but that he’d love to come back and a lady in the crowd shouted “You can stay at mine!” which caused more laughter. The whole night was a mixture of amazing vocals and guitar playing, stories and hilarious audience interaction. It was less like a gig and more like a private party with lots of friends. If you get the chance to catch Gavin James on his current tour, make sure you go, it’s a magical experience.
You can find out more about Gavin James at http://www.gavinjamesmusic.com/
Photo credit: www.labratphotos.co.uk/