lewis watson - the crescent arts centre, belfast

Lewis Watson
The Crescent arts Centre
Sunday 24th March 2013
Support from: Aaron Shanley, Mike Dignam

An air of excitement hung around Belfast's Crescent Arts Centre on Sunday night as acoustic singer-songwriter Lewis Watson came to town to play only his third ever gig on Irish soil. I was fortunate enough to see young Lewis on his debut at the Oh Yeah Centre last year and was extremely impressed with his effortless banter with the audience and his positive and friendly disposition, so my expectations were high!
Lewis had support from Aaron Shanley, a 23 year old songwriter from Lisburn who's already toured Britain and America extensively and that precious experience shone through in a strong set which saw him play songs mostly from his debut EP "Let The Sun In". Aaron's Donavon-esc guitar work was complimented by his powerful and yet delicate vocal delivery, sprinkled with hints of Iain Archer and indie  rockers Tokyo Police Club's frontman David Monks. Aaron's song writing is moving and emotional and yet searingly honest, giving glimpses into the mind of a young man who's clearly suffered some degree of heart ache. "Sometimes People Just Fall Out Of Love" and "You Know We Could Be Friends" the highlights of a beautifully crafted performance.
When Lewis finally entered the stage to screams of pandemonium  the grin on his face told the story. He's living his dream and goodness how it showed. With the added dimension of a full band to add to his sound, the Oxford born singer opened with "Once Before", a beautiful ballad of young love, with sincere and  sophisticated lyrics far beyond his young years. He quickly followed this up with fan favorites "Windows" and "Bones", which appeared on his Youtube channel long before success came knocking on the door. What sets Lewis apart from the many other wannabe acoustic acts is his genuine passion and appreciation for what he's doing. He interacts with the crowd as though he is an old friend, thanking them constantly for being there and expressing his happiness at every opportunity  It has to be said, the fans would be there regardless of this attitude, but they may not love him to quite the same extent either! This was typified when mid-way through the setlist he said "This is when the band say 'BRB' or 'be right back' for anyone who didn't have MSN", and as the laughter died down he jumped off the stage and asked the audience to sit in a circle around him. It was an incredibly intimate and bizarrely wonderful moment, as Lewis unplugged his guitar and serenaded the audience with two new tracks, one of which came after an impromptu request from a member of the crowd. Lewis simply shouted back up to his waiting band "One more song guys? That okay?" and then  played in one of the most genuine acts I've ever witnessed at a concert.
As he returned to the stage he finished up with a couple more from the new EP before claiming that he "never really understood encores" and so stayed where he was to end with his title track from the latest EP, "Into The Wild" which had every member of the audience singing their hearts out. He then took the obligatory Instagram picture and left to even louder applause than when he came on.
After the gig Lewis stayed behind to greet each and every single person there, posing for pictures and signing autographs for over an hour, considering this was the very last date of a tour which started in early March and has saw him tour all across Britain and Ireland it was a particularly generous act. All things considered, Lewis Watson is well worth seeing, especially at these early gigs. The debut album can't be far away and when it arrives expect him to take off.

Review by Taylor Johnson.

(Lewis met every fan - Legend!)

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