Rising country star Brett Eldredge has worked hard over the past few years to become one of the most successful new artists in the genre. The singer-songwriter released his debut album Bring You Back in 2013 and hit platinum with his single Don’t Ya. Last year he followed up his debut album with the release of second album Illinois, which is building to be an even bigger success. Last night Brett performed his first ever-live show in London as part of his mini UK tour to a packed out crowd at Camden’s Koko.
Following a rousing performance by support act Pauper Kings, Eldredge arrived on stage around 9pm. He opened the evening with Fire, the first track from Illinois, which proved to be a good choice as the uptempo beat set the audience up for the night. What was clear from the off is that Eldredge’s big personality that fans see on a daily basis through social media, was part of his live show charm. During Fire, and the rest of the set, Eldredge gave a performance so energetic that I actually felt exhausted just trying to keep up!
The set list for the evening was a mixture of songs from Bring You Back and Illinois along with a few cover versions. Some of the set’s finest moments where when Eldredge’s voice was allowed to shine free from the backing of his band. An acoustic one-two of Van Morrison cover Into the Mystic led into an incredible rendition of If You Were My Girl. Earlier on in the set Mean to Me provided the backing to a very sweet on-stage proposal that Eldredge helped make reality for two fans. The highlight of the set for me was One Mississippi, which was Eldredge’s best vocal of the night, backed only by a keyboardist. In the final moments a fan yelling ‘go on son!’ almost made Eldredge lose his composure but he quickly pulled it back and finished the stunning performance.
The cover versions were all from artists that had inspired Eldredge over his career. From a bluesy version of Ray Charles’ I Got a Woman through to the more surprising country take on Ginuwine’s much-loved Pony, Eldredge really showcased his versatility and range. He sounded his finest on the short Frank Sinatra cover The Way You Look Tonight where his vibrato sounded pretty damn amazing.
Elsewhere in the set current single Drunk On Your Love as one of two moments that inspired Eldredge to video the crowd singer to share on his very active social media profiles, Shadow saw him singing about his alcohol-induced back behaviour while swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels, and the beautiful Wanna Be That Song got the crowd a little misty eyed.
Things came to a close with the catchy Don’t Ya, which prompted the loudest crowd sing-a-long of the evening. It was a fitting end to a very entertaining evening of music.
Few entertainers can provide the level of energy that Eldredge last night and even fewer can sound better live than they do on record. Eldredge’s performance last night was nothing short of spectacular and his charisma had the audience hooked on every word he sung or said. With seriously strong vocals, a varied collection of fantastic songs, and more gusto than should be possible from anyone ever (especially on a cold Sunday night), Eldredge entertained his UK fans and I hope he doesn’t leave it too long before he returns for another, hopefully more extensive, tour.
Set list: 1. Fire 2. On and On 3. Beat of the Music 4. I Got a Woman (Ray Charles) 5. Mean to Me 6. Into the Mystic (Van Morrison cover) 7. If You Were My Girl 8. Time Well Spent 9. Pony (Ginuwine cover) 10. Lose My Mind 11. Going Away For a While 12. The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra cover) 13. One Mississippi 14. You Can’t Stop Me 15. Drunk On Your Love 16. Wanna Be That Song 17. Tell Me Where to Park 18. Shadow 19. Don’t Ya Performance Date: 14th February 2016