Sunday 14 February 2016

LIVE: King Charles at Engine Rooms, Southampton (13/2/16)

Last night saw my 8th gig of the year - the first of which I've paid for, in fact... totally worth every penny. As it was the third night of the King Charles tour, I'd seen some great tweets above the previous two shows in Manchester and Sheffield, and was quite excited to see the new live set. Support came from Ryan O'Reilly, whose set I loved - I'll share a session video of him tomorrow! 

King Charles and his band performing St Peter's Gate
Having seen Charles and his band 6 times last year, the new songs were all cemented in my brain but this was the first show I've seen since the release of his second record, Gamble For A Rose, so to hear other people singing the new songs was pretty fun. The crowd were fairly vocal and a highlight of the night was when Charles returned to the stage for an encore, starting with a solo performance of first album track Beating Hearts - hearing the whole room sing the lyrics back to Charles had me on the verge of tears!

One track I was eagerly anticipating was New Orleans, the only track off of the new album which I hadn't heard before either live or on a session video. I love the album version and was interested to see what the live performance of the track would be like, I've posted a video of the track here. After this finished they performed St Peter's Gate so I carried on filming (video below), the track was a bonus acoustic track on the last album, but there's a revamped full-band version on the new record so it was the first time seeing the track performed this way, and I loved it!

Probably the highlight of the whole show however, which can't escape mention, was the extended version of first album track Brightest Lights, which is something like 9 minutes long. There's an interlude of guitar shredding which created an incredible atmosphere. Sometimes when that kind of thing happens it can feel like the band is dragging out a track unnecessarily, but it glued together so well and blew me away entirely. A snippet of it is below.. 

Basically - I could go and see Charles and his band live all the time and not get bored. Last night was such a fun show and I can't wait to see the guys again on Thursday in London. It's so great to see Charles loving the shows as much as he seems to be too, and that really reflects in the crowd's enjoyment of the show! Also I've got to mention this product, earplugs from Alpine Hearing - as I go to so many shows I decided getting some earplugs was probably a good decision to protect my hearing, and last night was the first big show where I've used them. Taking them out during a track makes it so clear how much of a difference they make, and makes it actually worrying quite how loud a show can be, particularly when you're at the front. It was the first time I'd used them for a show where I was seeing a favourite band of mine, and while you might worry that they'd affect your enjoyment by changing the sound, by reducing the noise of people talking around you etc (and a bunch of technical stuff I won't pretend to understand) they actually make the music clearer to an extent. I definitely recommend looking for a pair of earplugs if you get to a lot of shows like I do!

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