HomeEF CountryMorgan Evans, Lafayette, London live review

Morgan Evans, Lafayette, London live review

We’ve been following Morgan Evans for a while here at EF Country, right from when he made his live London debut back in 2017 at the much-missed Borderline. Since then he’s played at C2C and headlined the O2 Academy2 in Islington, as well as having a top three hit on the US Country Airplay charts with ‘Kiss Somebody’ from his 2018 album ‘Things That We Drink To’. Now he’s back with new EP ‘The Country And The Coast (Side A)’ and out on tour across Europe with Brad Paisley. Whilst he was here, he managed to find time to squeeze in a solo headline show at new venue Lafayette in King’s Cross, returning to play in the UK for the first time since 2019.

Arriving on stage with his three-piece band to the Aussie classic ‘Land Down Under’ by Men At Work (by far the best choice of entrance music this year so far) and huge cheers, Evans kicked off his set with ‘Young Again’. It’s become one of his signature songs and straight away the room was absolutely bouncing, with everyone jumping and singing along. Evans had a huge grin on his face as he jammed out with his band on the song’s extended intro and his enthusiasm was infectious, with the crowd bursting into a volley of applause along with whoops and hollers when he finished the song.

From that point on Evans didn’t let up for the next hour and a half. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the set was dominated by songs from ‘The Country And The Coast’, from the upbeat ‘Country Outta My Girl’ (including a London-related lyric change at the end) to ‘Sing Along Drink Along’ and ‘American Dream Truck’, which saw him telling the story of how the song was written and having the audience laughing along as he did so. The new music really feels like a great continuation of the sound that worked well for him on his previous album but with a more personal approach to the lyrics, as well as allowing the more soulful side of his vocals to stand out. He also played a brand new song that will be released on his upcoming ‘The Country And The Coast (Side B)’ project called ‘All Right Here’. The uptempo melody and carefree lyrics put me in mind of classic Kenny Chesney tunes and it had a great laidback summery vibe, with Evans encouraging the crowd to clap along throughout.

However, there was still plenty of space for old favourites too. Songs like ‘Kiss Somebody’ provided an lighthearted soundtrack to a summer night, whilst the pop-influenced ‘I Do’ showed off Evans’ romantic side. He also came across as incredibly relaxed and charming on stage, making jokes about jetlag and being given an ‘elementary school chair’ for his solo acoustic section (more on that shortly), as well as bantering with rowdy audience members and talking about his time in Nashville and experiences during the pandemic. Whilst he’s always had a great skill at connecting with a crowd, you could tell he was really enjoying performing again and judging by the audience response throughout the feeling was mutual.

For me the high point of the show came in the middle, which started with Evans taking his seat behind the piano to play ‘Things That We Drink To’. He dedicated the track to his late manager and asked the crowd to turn on their phone lights and sway as he transitioned effortlessly into a verse of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ at the end. You could really feel the emotion in his voice as he sang and it was an incredibly touching moment. He then played a short solo acoustic section, kicking off with a gorgeous rendition of ‘Dance With Me’ (which made me well up a little bit) as well as his take on ‘Hooked’, a song he wrote which ended up being recorded by Dylan Scott. I loved how his voice soared on the chorus and how he engaged the audience by encouraging them to sing along on the bridge, before standing on his chair in triumph and raising his guitar aloft at the end.

Evans closed the main portion of his set with a lively crowd sing-off to ‘Love Is Real’, then introduced his band before going into ‘Day Drunk’ which he merged with Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s ‘Young Wild And Free’. Right from the off the audience were in full voice, joining in on every word, and you could tell he was absolutely loving it. At one point he could even be seen getting down on his knees at the front of the stage, throwing himself into the music and getting completely lost in it. It’s always great to watch a performer who genuinely enjoys what they’re doing and he definitely seems to really relish being back out there. After leaving the stage to raucous cheers and demands for ‘one more song!’, he and the band returned to play ‘Diamonds’ for their encore. I really liked the rockier spin he put on the live version and the slight edge it brought out in his voice, as well as still having the playful touches that is a hallmark of his sound.

Overall Morgan Evans delivered a really fun, joyful show that felt like a huge celebration of being able to perform live again. He had great energy throughout, showed off his skills as a songwriter and a musician and provided plenty of entertainment for the enthusiastic crowd, as well as stopping off by the merch table afterwards to chat to fans and take photos. If you’re seeing him while he’s over here with Brad Paisley, then you’re in for a treat. If you’re not, then make sure you catch him when he comes back to the UK – which hopefully won’t be too long to wait next time!

Set list: 1. Young Again 2. Country Outta My Girl 3. Kiss Somebody 4. I Do 5. Here Comes The Sun (Beatles cover) 6. Sing Along Drink Along 7. American Dream Truck 8. Things That We Drink To/Fix You (Coldplay cover) 9. Dance With Me 10. All Right Here 11. Hooked (made famous by Dylan Scott) 12. Love Is Real 13. Day Drunk/Young Wild And Free (Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa cover) Encore: 14. Diamonds Performance date: 14th July 2022

See Morgan Evans on tour in Europe with Brad Paisley this July:

15 July – Ovo Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland
16 July – 3 Arena, Dublin, Ireland
19 July – Poppodium 013, Tilburg, Netherlands
20 July – Royal Arena, Copenhagen, Denmark
22 July – Bergenhus Festning, Bergen, Norway
24 July – Festningen Trondheim, Trondheim, Norway

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Laura Cooney
Laura Cooney
Laura has been writing for Entertainment Focus since 2016, mainly covering music (particularly country and pop) and television, and is based in South West London.

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