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Drake White & The Big Fire The Borderline London live review

The much-buzzed star more than delivered during his headline show.

Drake White
Credit: Big Machine Records

Since his performance at C2C: Country to Country earlier this year, Drake White has had a huge buzz around him. The soulful Country singer caused a lot of excitement when he announced that he’d be touring with Kip Moore and that show sold out in minutes. Announced as part of Country Music Week, fans snapped up tickets and when the news arrived that White and his band The Big Fire would be performing a headline set at The Borderline the following night, tickets went like hot cakes. Following an electric performance at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire supporting Moore the night before, the audience was buzzing with excitement for White’s headline show.

As the opening bars of Heartbeat started, the audience went wild and White made his entrance onto the stage. In his signature style, White left gave a remarkably energetic performance with his passion and raw talent radiating throughout the entire 90 minutes of the show. For the most part the set list was selections from White’s album Spark and by the sound of the audience, they were pleased and knew every single word to pretty much every single song.

The bouncy beat of Story had everyone dancing and White occasionally turned the mic over to the audience to sing parts of the song. It was one of those moments when you truly realise the power of good music as a room full of people who didn’t previously know one another, suddenly felt like a community with a passion in common.

White’s vocals were incredible. He sings with such passion and you can visibly see how connected he is to the words he’s singing. His body tenses and shakes as he hits the bigger notes and the soulful grit to his voice brings out goosepimples, particularly when he adds a bit of a growl into his delivery. That grit was perhaps most effective on Makin’ Me Look Good Again, a song that is fast becoming his signature tune. White understands how to connect directly with his audience and he made us all feel every single word of that song.

The set was peppered with a few songs not included on Spark. The Simple Life, a song White released independently in 2013, was a celebration of appreciating the things that really matter in life while an acoustic rendition of Coast is Clear was another spine-tingling moment that allowed White’s unique and unmistakeable talent to shine brightly.

Other highlights across the set included the fantastic I Need Real, the dreamy Back to Free and the uptempo It Feels Good, which was White’s penultimate song of the evening. The set came to a close with a rendition of The Beatles’ With a Little Help From My Friends and White put his own spin on the track drawing its soul out with his remarkable vocals.

White’s show at The Borderline was a true triumph and proof that he’s more than capable of holding his own as a headliner. It’ll be the last time UK fans get to see him in such an intimate venue I’m sure and he’d easily be able to sell out larger venues. The passion and energy White displays throughout his performances is truly impressive and he has charisma in abundance. I expected his show at The Borderline to be a highlight of Country Music Week but I’m pretty sure by the time the week comes to an end, it’s going to be the best show I’ve seen all week. When’s he coming back to the UK again?

 

Set list: 1. Heartbeat 2. Story 3. Equator 4. I Need Real 5. Back to Free 6. The Simple Life 7. Take Me As I Am 8. Waitin’ on the Whiskey to Work 9. Raised Right 10. Coast is Clear 11. Freestyle 12. Livin’ the Dream 13. Makin’ Me Look Good Again 14. It Feels Good 15. With a Little Help From My Friends Performance date: 7th October 2017

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