Last night saw Saint Raymond return to Manchester, for his very first headline gig, and the final date of his UK tour, so we knew immediately that we were all in for something really special. The night proved to be a full array of acoustic, full band and sing-along moments that just celebrates how good our music scene is right now, nationally and regionally.
On to the first act of the night, Laamb, a singer-songwriter duo from Manchester. Coupled with smouldering vocals from singer Laura Christou, and the delightful acoustic strummings from Sam Powell, Laamb‘s set was simply beautiful. The only thing that I have to complain about is the fact that not enough people were there to see their set, they really missed out. Their set consisted of mostly original songs like the tantalising opener, Ecstasy and a few new songs like Too Heavy which they had only just written the night before. Christou’s soulful vocal just melts on your ears. It was a nice 20 minute set to start the night off with.
Next up was Manchester singer/songwriter, Rick Kevill, who was greeted with a very warm reception from the crowd all the way through his set. Just on the heels of releasing his first release, the This Love EP, which is sure to open up many doors for him. His set was varied, though it mainly consisted of him and his electric guitar, but he did also pull out the old piano skills, for song Ghost, it just made his set even more intimate and it was very engaging to watch.
He writes from a place of honesty and it really shines through in his live set. He is a great musician and songwriter who is sure to go far, his music has some resemblance to that of fellow Manchester singer/songwriter Guy Connor, in my opinion, but both are equally fantastic and have that something special. Kevill is first and foremost a storyteller, along with his honey toned vocals and the strong, sometimes bluesy, melodies of his music, he is unstoppable. A wave of applause and cheers overwhelmed the room as his final song reaches it’s close, the crowd loved every minute of it.
Immediately when I saw that Joel Baker was supporting Saint Raymond, I knew I had to go and see this for myself. It’s been quite a year so far for this Nottingham born, London based singer/songwriter, with not only releasing his début EP, Long Sleeves, but he also got the chance to perform at Reading and Leeds festival this summer and he’s been receiving numerous plays on Radio 1 over the past week, so it’s all looking very good for him right now.
Myself and many others have made comparisons to Joel Baker with other artists like Jake Bugg, Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran, though some of what they bring to the table is true in Baker’s case, he’s also so much more than that. I mean, he’s got a voice that is undeniably unique, his soulful tone, the sweet sensitivity of his songwriting and that raw intensity he has also, makes him one to watch. I could happily listen to him singing for days. So when it came to his set as you would imagine I was looking forward to it, and he didn’t disappoint.
He just shines on stage, you can tell that’s where he’s supposed to be, the charisma and rapport he has with a crowd is something magic, it’s beautiful to watch and to be a part of. There’s no distance between the two, it’s a partnership, everyone gets swept up in the music and it’s a celebration. And no Joel Baker show is complete without that “crowd participation” with songs like Kiss in the Rain and Every Vessel, Every Vein, this is where the magic happens: whether it’s clapping along or the crowd being split up into girls and boys. The girls singing “just like the rain” and the boys “Every vessel, every vein”, it just makes the atmosphere electric and so warm.
By the end of his set it’s hard not to come away a little different, I mean, first of all I’m sure everyone, if they hadn’t already, fell in love with Baker’s music – and generally his set has this uplifting quality to it that leaves you feeling invigorated. His passion for his music gleams and there’s nothing better than that. His connection to his music and the raw intensity of his voice just fills you with a sense of awe, I couldn’t recommend going to see him live more than that, it’s just flawless.
Saint Raymond (aka. Callum Burrows) finally took to the stage at 9.20pm with his band in tow, who are pretty great in their own right. This being his first headlining tour across the UK and the success he’s had so far off the back of his début EP, Escapade, and with yesterday’s announcement that he’s going out on tour with Haim on their winter tour across Europe and the UK, it’s proving to be a very big year for this young Nottingham singer/songwriter.
The set was filled with all the songs that you wanted to hear from the EP and it also featured a few new songs too, which is always nice. Opening track, Letting Go, is a BIG track that just sails around in your head, a great way to start the set off with, it’s sparkly and atmospheric, a great song to get the crowd singing along to. Other tracks like The River and Everything She Wants (a big track for me, it sounded so good) were up next. So far it had been a very energetic set, and the crowd were loving it. The tropical tones of the music really resonate into something very electric and passionate, that makes you want to dance and sing-a-long.
Taking a little breather from the high energy indie pop revelries, Callum donned an acoustic guitar. The delicate tones of his acoustic guitar rung out around the room, it’s just enough for you to take in your surroundings and the atmosphere. It’s breathtaking to watch him play and it shows his versatility, as essentially that’s where he started from, it being just him and an acoustic guitar, so it’s always nice to see an artist go back to their roots. Bonfires was a great crowd pleaser, just before the encore.
They ended the night right with Fall At Your Feet, with a song like this it’s hard not to get swept up by it and dance yourself crazy. It’s a real stunner, no one wanted the show to end, so in response to that Callum asked the crowd “do you think you have another chorus left in you?” and the crowd went wild as he went in for another round of the chorus. It was a little bitter sweet to say goodbye because after all it was the end of the tour, but like Callum said “I’m coming back to Manchester in December, so that’s exciting” and I’m sure if anyone can get hold of a ticket then it will be a great night for sure.
A Saint Raymond show will no doubt leave you with a feel good feeling afterwards, his music is so vibrant and melodious that it’s impossible not to feel that way. The only way I’d like to describe watching Saint Raymond in a small venue like this, is like what I’d imagine it was like watching Bastille at the same level before they got to where they are now. It’s something really special and there’s an air of anticipation and excitement about what’s going to happen next for them.
You can catch Saint Raymond on tour supporting Haim throughout December and for more info on all the other acts check out the links below.