Tom Walker | Jade Bird – 24th April 2019 – Newcastle O2 Academy
Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)
When you have to upgrade your venue because the demand is high and you could have upgraded again you know the show is going to be a pretty mental one and this is what happened for Tom Walker on tour for his debut album, What A Time To Be Alive, and everyone with a ticket knew it as the queue to get in nearly wrapped itself around the venue and come showtime for Tom himself most of the venue was toasting his success and Tom himself lapped it up from start to the finish.
Looking at the set up it feels he and his band were not ready to upscale the venue as the instruments and screen pillars were packed tightly in on the stage but what a set up and what a band as a slow intro builds into Angels and he appears to a thundering roar with the first glimpse. He goes in between taking control of the mic and then to a guitar as he goes through songs from his early days to the big hits and I think most of the crowd were there from his early days as there was no lull in the energy from them throughout.
The vibe was pretty constant throughout with big thumping sing-alongs but midway through it seemed to step up a notch as Cry Out seems to bring a slight element of rock sounds and the lights are bright and epic and then Tom walks over to a drum towards the end of Dominoes and the venue, if possible, feels that touch more alive.
Tom is very much a musician in his own right, particularly when he gets the chance to shine on his lonesome. Which he does spectacularly on Blessings, which is a really special moment. Slightly eclipsing this, as cheesy as it sounds, a sea of mobile lights come on for his biggest hit to date; Leave A Light On which closes the night and it is a beautiful ending to the set.
However, welcoming this highly excitable crowd to the Wednesday nights entertainment is Jade Bird. Many people had gathered for this night as they saw her name added to the bill but there were also many people there who did not have a clue who she was but as soon as she took to the stage people took note from the get-go. Kicking off with Uh Huh from her recently released self-titled album and showing off her vocal and lyrical ability to the crowd’s amazement, she had this sold-out crowd in the palm of her hand and most were in the building to witness it. It was great to see many people singing and bouncing along from the first second and literally shutting people up who normally overlook support acts.
Jade and her band played an amazing short but very tightly packed set with a great variety of sounds from the album which really does show off her abilities from the big numbers to the slightly more stripped backed ones as she immediately follows the opener with Good At It. And as if the set couldn’t be any more fun for both her on stage and the audience, she throws in the 1980s hit Walk Like An Egyptian from The Bangles which definitely shows the difference of age gaps in the crowd. However, even if you didn’t know the song her infectious performance definitely had you dancing along if not singing along.
I have seen Jade a few times live now but this would be the first time I have seen her a band. Seeing her with an extra three bodies on stage just highlights her personality more as she interacts with each band member while engaging with the packed out crowd and not losing any connection with either. There’s not one moment where the crowd are running off to the bar. In fact, in this short set, it seemed more people wanted in on the action.
When Jade sings I Get No Joy many look on in amazement as she wraps her words around that catchy tongue-twisting chorus. She then has the majority clapping along to the hoe-down track that is Going Gone and as she exits the stage many are gasping, “that was amazing!”
It was basically the hottest ticket in town on Wednesday night and value for money. Tom Walker has had to upgrade his sell-out shows to sell out again and with that performance and many more getting to witness Jade Bird, if they hadn’t heard of her before, you know that her upcoming shows in November are going to be following the same direction.
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