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Dan + Shay KOKO London live review

The duo kicked off their headline UK tour with an energetic performance in London.

Dan + Shay
Credit: Warner Bros. Nashville

Dan + Shay are one of the top duos in country music at the moment and have been enjoying huge success with their second album Obsessed, including two number one singles in the US. Following their appearance at C2C: Country to Country earlier this year, the pair have now returned to these shores for a new national tour, including a stop at legendary London venue KOKO.

The band walked on to Kanye West’s All Of The Lights before launching into their own song All Nighter. Right from the off it was clear they were there to party and they got the audience involved throughout the set, encouraging them to sing and clap along (not that they needed it!). The uptempo, poppy track really showed off the soulful side to Shay’s voice too. They then moved into Nothing Like You from their debut album Where It All Began, a more midtempo number which highlighted the 90s R’n’B elements of Shay’s vocal.

Throughout the set Dan + Shay mixed songs from their two albums in with several covers, most notably their take on Rascal Flatts’ I Like The Sound Of That, which really suited Shay’s voice (including one major note at the end!). Other highlights included the summery Stop Drop And Roll, the mix of rock and R’n’B influences on What You Do To Me, the laid-back feel of Can’t Say No and the slinky Already Ready. I also liked that they weren’t afraid to play with genres, throwing in their versions of Cee Lo Green’s Forget You and a cover of Mr Brightside that got the whole crowd jumping around.

However the moments where the band really shone were the ballads and slower numbers, which allowed Shay’s incredible vocals to come to the fore. He showed off some seriously impressive vocal runs on songs such as Show You Off and an acoustic version of Obsessed, and frequently hit huge notes, particularly on the soaring Lately, the yearning yet controlled How Not To and the introspective Lipstick. It showed that he’s one of the best male vocalists in country music today and is capable of delivering just as good a vocal live as on the record.

Dan + Shay closed their set with a rendition of 19 You And Me, which perfectly summed up their set with its tight harmonies, melodic intro, soulful vibe and a big note from Shay to finish. They also spoke very movingly about their relationship and it was clear that they have a deep respect for each other as musicians and friends, as well as seeming quite overwhelmed by the hugely positive response from the audience.

Overall Dan + Shay put on a fantastic show with plenty of energy and kept the crowd singing at the top of their lungs all the way through a jam-packed set. Yes there were a couple of moments that slightly missed the mark – the cover of Bon Jovi’s You Give Love A Bad Name was fun but not quite right for Shay’s voice in my view – but it was a really enjoyable night out and it was clear that they loved every second of it. They’ve promised to come back with new music next year and personally I can’t wait to see them again!

 

Set list: 1. All Nighter 2. Nothing Like You 3. Stop Drop And Roll 4. You Give Love A Bad Name (Bon Jovi cover) 5. Road Trippin’ 6. Show You Off 7. What You Do To Me 8. Lipstick 9. From The Ground Up 10. Can’t Say No 11. Already Ready 12. I Like The Sound Of That (Rascal Flatts cover) 13. Lately 14. How Not To 15. Mr Brightside (Killers cover) 16. Obsessed 17. Round The Clock 18. Forget You (Cee Lo Green cover) 19. 19 You And Me Performance date: 28th November 2017

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