I headed over to the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire with excitement running through my veins. I ordered a cider and found my spot on the balcony – usually I’d be found in the middle of the audience, so I was taken back to be overlooking the whole crowd.
First up was rock ‘n’ roll fuelled band, Southern, led by brother and sister Thom and Lucy, who create the perfect build up to the rest of the night. Strongly followed by The Mispers, and WOW did they impress me. Mick Jagger-esque frontman, Jack Scott, completely ruled the crowd with his vigour; jumping, spinning, dancing, fully embracing his time on stage. He drove his energy through his bandmates, straight into the crowd.
The crowd was now ready and eager for the Irish pop-folk duo Hudson Taylor to make their way to the stage. As Alfie and Harry started, I realised how amazing it was to witness a crowd from above; I could not only feel the beat of their music running through my body, but I could see it rippling across the crowd as the audience raised their arms, filled with the uplifting sounds of their music. Chasing Rubies, Battles and Care had the crowd singing ever word, with the lights illuminating their beaming faces.
There was a point where they unplugged, and 2000 people fell silent as they played a song completely acoustic, about their journey and how they started as buskers. It was a moment I’ll honestly never forget, their voices so pure, harmonising perfectly. I took a step back in my mind and thought, ‘this is exactly why I surround myself with live music’.
I didn’t think it could get better than that! But then they invited the beautiful Gabrielle Aplin to the stage; her voice so delicate, fitting perfectly with them. She returned later on in the set, with the wonderful Jack Morris, who’s a big inspiration to their music. They played a song that no one had heard before from their new album, Singing for Strangers (released 30 March). Within two verses the whole crowd was singing along – you’d never have thought it was the first time they’d heard it
Hudson Taylor closed with Battles, and to see the crowd so involved, clapping and singing in sync from above was an amazing way to finish off such a brilliant night of music.
If you like the sound of this, I fully recommend watching the Battles music video, it’s my favourite!
Hudson Taylor’s debut album, Singing For Strangers, is released 30 March. New single World Without You is available on the same day. Pre-order the album today.