Live Review: Lewis Watson – Norwich

Lewis Watson

Norwich Arts Centre, 28th November 2016

Words & photos: Chloe Hashemi

For me, there is nothing more special than seeing an artist grow humbly with their art. Having seen Lewis Watson just over three years ago at the Norwich Arts Centre, it was hard to believe that the man I saw on stage this week was that same guy. I would have sworn it wasn’t the same baby-faced, floppy haired singer-songwriter who got their big break on YouTube just a few years ago.

2.JPGApart from his newly bleached blonde hair, there are quite a few ways that Watson has transformed since I first saw him live back in 2013.  With a mature new album on the way, and recently signed to independent label Cooking Vinyl, Watson charmed the crowd with his strikingly confident stage presence. He articulately played through a generous set list, featuring gems like ‘Bones’ and ‘Into the Wild’ from his back-catalogue and owned new single ‘Little Light’ too. On the 3rd date of his ‘the second album is finished but I can’t announce anything yet tour’ Watson seemed sincerely delighted to be performing again on this short run of gigs.

3Armed with soon-to-be released material, I’m sure the rest of the Norwich Arts Centre would agree Watson presented worthy follow-ups to his debut album ‘The Morning’.  It was hard to miss that this new set list was injected with a maturity that only comes with years of writing and performing. Swapping his signature acoustic guitar sound for more prominent electric guitar riffs, this seems like a natural progression for Lewis, and a fitting backdrop for his grown-up sound.

At just 23, Watson’s lyrics are far from vacuous, and he is a worthy frontman to his band accompanying him on this tour. The genuine chemistry between Lewis and his band is as blatant as his new hair. One of the highlights of this gig was a moment when Lewis stumbled the opening lines of ‘Castle Street’ halfway through his set. Recalling only the words to the ‘dirty version’ that he and his band sing backstage and in rehearsals, he could not sing through the opening verse without letting out a laugh. It took him 5 attempts for the song to get started properly, by this time he had everyone in the crowd and on stage in stitches.

1.JPGOne thing which was present in both the boy I saw back in 2013 and the man I saw this week was the genuine love for the music they were playing, and all I can say is I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album on the 3rd March.

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