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Charlie Hole, The Garage Islington live review

The rising star played a headline gig at the London venue.

Charlie Hole
Credit: Charlie Hole

Charlie Hole is young. When I say young I mean really young: his PR says he is just 22. The fact that he has had a publishing deal since he was 18, let alone enough solid material for a forthcoming album is actually astonishing. Not only that – he can genuinely count legend Rod Stewart as a fan. Good signs of things to come.

Tonight he plays the solid musical stalwart of The Garage in Islington North London, long held as a showcase for new, burgeoning talent. The place was filled with a mixture of young music lovers and drinkers- and clearly some friends and family support members too, given the amount of fun heckling and banter between songs.

Charlie and guitar acoustically took the stage and took us through 10 songs- two from his E.P. Dirty little Secret and other others, presumably, will be found on his new album later this year. The Chapel Of Unrest, one of the E.P. tracks, is broadly about the child abuse scandals within the church. It is a powerful track and an angry performance: you can sense he’s angrily mused on the pain of others and represents their suffering somberly within the song. There will be No King/Hit the Road Jack mashup was an entirely more vibey affair which made you want to click your fingers. Find Someone Who Cares was, so he said, a song he wrote for his father’s wedding and therefore he was under some pressure to come up with the goods. Luckily for his dad – he did – and the song (despite being able to interpret the title in a completely different way) beautifully describes finding that special person to share life with.

Charlie possesses a quality quite rare in a younger performer: he has the voice and lyrical content of a more mature, seasoned artist. Often you could be forgiven he is three times his age, such is the maturity of his musical output. That’s not to say he isn’t passionate about the lyrics and their musical delivery: far from it. He melodically and energetically muses on politics, life, love and everything. He also doesn’t seem concerned with his own ego – in between songs he chats and jokes self-deprecatingly with the audience who are clearly delighted at his personality and humour as much as with the music.

You can feel the musical promise beginning to ooze out of Charlie. Later this month he’ll be appearing on tour dates with Callaghan.

On this trajectory he is clearly on the road to being a well-renowned writer and performer. Keep an eye out for him as his star slowly but steadily emerges. At 22, he has a lot of time on his side.

Set List: 1. Someone Else’s Dream 2. The Chapel Of Unrest 3. Little Town 4. The Ballad Of Anne Beverley 5. Find Someone Who Cares 6. There Will Be No King / Hit The Road Jack 7. Boundaries 8. The City 9. The Final Straw 10. Unlit Flame Performance Reviewed: 1st March 2016

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