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Charlie Worsham, Union Chapel, London live review

The singer-songwriter played a mix of old and new songs at the London venue.

Charlie Worsham
Credit: Warner Music

Since making his UK debut at C2C in 2016, Charlie Worsham has rapidly become one of the most popular live acts. The singer-songwriter’s skilled guitar playing and  heartfelt, honest lyrics have won over audiences around the country and landed his sophomore album, 2017’s Beginning Of Things, on many end-of-year best-of lists. Lately he’s been working on new music and last night fans in London got their first chance to hear it as he opened for Lee Ann Womack at Union Chapel.

Carrying his guitar, Worsham walked on stage to huge cheers and proclaimed ‘My people!’, before opening with Young To See from his debut album Rubberband. It’s a wistful, laid-back song with plenty of twang, which highlighted the richness in his voice and gave him a chance to show off his impressive guitar playing on the bridge. The crowd responded with loud applause and Worsham put his hand on his heart in response, clearly overwhelmed by their reaction.

Throughout the performance Worsham frequently broke off to speak about how much fans in the UK have embraced him since he first came over here. As well as joking with the audience, he spoke passionately about falling in love with the country and his ‘Elvis moment’ of hearing fans at C2C sing his songs back to him a day after hearing him live for the first time. It’s clear that the warm welcome he’s received means a lot to him and he seemed blown away by their enthusiasm for his music.

 

When I spoke to Charlie recently he mentioned that it’s become a tradition for him to try new music out in the UK, and this was no exception. The upbeat Love You To The Moon featured quick lyrics, rocky guitar and Worsham’s trademark storytelling, whilst The Other Side Of The Lens was a lovely ode to Charlie’s mum and her role as the family photographer. The song was full of warmth and affection as well as detailed, evocative lyrics, and I’m not ashamed to admit it made me well up! Meanwhile, the raw, passionate Put My Fist Through This Town certainly packed a punch, highlighting the power and gravel in Worsham’s voice.

However there was plenty of room for fan favourites alongside the new songs. The gentle, lilting Old Times Sake gave Worsham a chance to show off his guitar-picking skills with an impressive riff, as well as some great wordplay and a capella finish. Meanwhile, Mississippi in July was full of vivid imagery and emotion and featured a hugely impressive note from Worsham towards the end.

After thanking the audience, Worsham closed his performance with Southern By The Grace Of God, which has become a staple of his live sets. The lively, bright melody gave him an opportunity to show off his slide guitar skills and I loved the fast-paced riff he threw in towards the end too. He got a standing ovation from the crowd when he finished and judging by the meet and greet queue afterwards he’d clearly won over plenty of new fans.

Overall Worsham gave a fantastic performance that was full of heart. He showed off great musicianship, getting some incredible sounds out of his guitar, as well as emotive songwriting, and came across as warm and engaging on stage. It was also nice to see a different side of him, particularly in the three new songs. The UK audience clearly love him as much as he loves them, and I’m sure I speak for many of those in the crowd when I can’t say I can’t wait for him to be back!

Set list: 1. Young To See 2. Old Times Sake 3. Mississippi In July 4. Love You To The Moon 5. Other Side Of The Lens 6. Put My Fist Through This Town 7. Southern By The Grace Of God Performance date: 7th September 2018

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