It might have been Friday the 13th, but for King Charles’ hardcore band of fans it wasn’t unlucky as he turned in a powerful greatest hits set with some new tracks thrown in.
There’s some serious money behind Charles Costa – who has one minor hit behind him – as there is a double decker tour bus parked outside, and four techs scurrying around so his backers are clearly hoping this will be his breakthrough year.
So will he?
He certainly has the charisma, and the sort of effortless self-confidence an expensive education delivers, but his major weapon is an unerring ear for a pop hook.
It was a brave decision to kick off with a lovely solo version of Carry Me Away, but it turned into a showcase for his soulful voice and his well-judged fretwork. The money had also bought in a tightly drilled backing band that really kicked in on a bouncy The Brightest Lights, which featured his posh mates Mumford and Sons on the album version.
This gig was nearly halfway through a 30 date tour to road-test tracks from his upcoming new album produced by Marcus Mumford, but it might have been a mistake to play the more folk tinged newies in a block as he lost vital momentum. Pick of the bunch was Gamble for a Rose that had a touch of the Mumfords, but with a neat little hook.
Charles seemed to know it saying ‘let’s have some fun’ after the new ones were done, and he was as good as his word with a pin sharp version of LoveBlood that got the crowd moving at last. It was a smart move to throw in a bit of Paul Simon in during the intro to Lady Percy that closed the set.
He saved the best for last with a upbeat Love Lust, which had won him the prestigious International Songwriting Competition in Nashville, and should have been a huge hit if the crowd’s energetic dancing was anything to go by.
Good looking, great guitarist, decent songwriter who knows how to work a crowd so it could be his year, but for the moment King Charles is still a prince in waiting much like his Windsor namesake.