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Saturday, 17 March 2018

A View From The Back Of The Room: Jamie Lawson (Review By Nick)

Jamie Lawson - Trinity Centre, Bristol

Following a very quick 24 hour hop up and down the country to see Norwegian black metal genius's Satyricon in Glasgow, I hastily returned and skipped across to Bristol with Matt to make an equally large trip through the musical spectrum; this time for the acoustic and lyrical calmness of Jamie Lawson.

Having admired Jamie Lawson since his rise to fame following “that song” that we all know and love, I've delved into his back catalogue and his past and loved every bit that I've discovered. I had the opportunity to see him two years ago, alas, a friends wedding stood in the way... I wasn't expecting that! (Sorry... had to!) So this time I was determined to catch him, the fact that it was to be in the surroundings of the Bristol Trinity centre; a converted church, made it all the more enticing.

Arriving a little late due to the dreaded M4 traffic we had missed the first support act, but were in time to see the second support in the shape of Tommy Ashby, who also turned out to be Jamie's lead guitarist on the day too! Ashby slowly walked onto stage and picked up his guitar, clearly very nervous he broke into his first song, his voice soft and tuneful with gentle strumming of his guitar initially impressed me and seemed to keep the crowed hooked too. However, despite the quality of Ashbys voice and the deep lyrical meaning too his songs, I found my attention wandering somewhat a few songs in. All of the songs in his set seemed very similar, this combined with the minimal crowd interaction in between due to his obvious nerves made it hard to really invest in this set. Tommy Ashby has a tender and unique voice that you don't come across everyday but currently this wasn't enough to hold my attention. I hope too see a bit from Ashby in the future, as his voice a true gem. Perhaps though after he has gained a bit more on stage experience and a stronger back catalogue 6/10.

A short break between acts and fifteen minutes later quickly onto stage with no messing around came the reason everyone was there, Jamie Lawson. Playing to what appeared to be a now near sold out venue Jamie and his band wasted no time and kicked of the set with current single from his new album Happy Accidents, Miracle Of Love. With a slow acoustic start and a more uplifting chorus and finale to this track, it immediately displayed all that Lawson has to offer, if he were to continue in this fashion we were in for a great night full of emotion and possibly some bopping too! Moving straight on we were treated to the more bouncy track Don't Say You Do If  You Don't and fan favourite Cold In Ohio which was delivered perfectly by the Lawson and backed up strongly by the on looking crowd.

Lawson's voice has always been a little different to most, where at time it appears to come so easily you could be forgiven if you thought he was simply talking. Smooth, graceful and rammed full of emotion, Lawson's voice is one of the most relaxing you will find in modern music. After a quick introduction it was good to see that Lawson had not let his rise to fame go to his head, still humble and shy to a degree he joked his way through retuning his guitar to the warm laughter of the crowd, this was to be an ongoing theme throughout the night. Next were songs old, not quite so old and new. New track Falling In Love was swiftly followed by A Touch Of Your Hand from Lawson's first album Pull Of The Moon from way back in 2003, then another anthem The Only Conclusion.

This pattern continued throughout the set, dipping in and out of all of his albums, some not all the fans recognised and some were met and sung in perfect harmony. A particular stand out for me was He's Reading Helena; very much an album track from the new album, but for me epitomises everything that is great about Jamie Lawson. Slow acoustic track, with deep reflective lyrics, presented with the graceful voice of Lawson, this one really impressed me. As the set drew to a close we were treated to a trio of the upbeat tracks from the album including Time On My Hands, to which Lawson joked was about masturbation... it's not folks, the guy is funny too! Before leaving the stage it was time for the song that made all of tonight possible I guess, a quick word by Lawson recognising what this song has done to for his life and then he proceeded to flawlessly deliver I Wasn't Expecting That.

The love for this song not just from the crowd but the man himself was evident as the whole room serenaded each other throughout. After a short gap the inevitable encore was delivered consisting of Love Finds A Way, the soon to be single Ahead Of Myself  and A Little Mercy. This is probably my only grumble about the entire night, A Little Mercy was a very odd choice of song to finish on in my opinion. Although a classic Lawson type song it is very new, slow and short; not a track the crowd could really get into to finish the night, it was almost a little anti-climactic... a shame really.

Nonetheless this was nowhere near enough to spoil the night as the sheer joy displayed of Lawson's face throughout was enough to make you realize how happy he is to be up on stage. As the man himself said before leaving “It still blows his mind”. The constant beaming smile throughout the set really makes you feel part of something, add this together with a truly brilliant voice and songs written with emotion and substance, performed in the tranquil venue of the Trinity … it made for a brilliant night of music 9/10.

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