Ward Thomas | The Wandering Hearts – 6th April 2019 – Gateshead Sage
Review and photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)
“It looks like heaven….It’s picture perfect paradise.” The first and third lines of Lie Like Me from country-pop twins Ward Thomas opens the show and this is what it feels like and definitely doesn’t “feel(s) like hell” like the second line of the song suggests as everyone that took up the standing area were packed in tight to get close to the action and from the get-go nearly everyone is singing as loudly as they can to the new numbers blending into the older ones with ease.
A lovely moment (with no disrespect to the amazing band) is when Catherine and Lizzy have the stage to themselves to give a heart wrenching stripped backed performances of Cartwheels, No Fooling Me and Deepest You; the latter welcoming Billy their guitarist back. You get to really feel the emotions in their harmonies. It really is a testament to singers when they can sing in this way and sound pitch perfect to the recorded versions or better in the case of Ward Thomas. But if you are familiar with Ward Thomas you know they can’t keep you sitting down for long and the upbeat numbers are dotted around the setlist which works brilliantly. The majority of the crowd came to dance there cares away and even those that had to settle for the upper tiers were on their feet as crazy as those in the standing area. Credit to those guys, as I wouldn’t want to be on my feet that high up! I am unsure how we could have cranked up the atmosphere any more but we did with I Believe In You as claps tripled in volume and more audience members lent their voices to the singalong.
Another medley comes but this time with songs from their first album From Where We Stand with The Good And The Right, A Town Called Ugley and Push For The Stride, which is probably as close to honkey-tonk country as we get. And oh, you could just feel the power more so in their vocals with the last song of this medley. It sure got my heart thumping as mad as the beat of the drum. You could definitely feel those who were seated were ready to get on their feet.
My personal highlight came with Rather Be Breathing. Since getting their latest album it’s one of the songs that really gets to every bone of my body. From the beat and the ‘whistles’ in the darkness of the room before the lights came on I actually had to hold back the tears. I can’t describe the actual feeling but it’s definitely one of those songs for me.
You really couldn’t fault the setlist. Catherine and Lizzy brought everything to the table and covered what they could from all three albums in this hour and twenty minutes with Carry You Home not only closing the night but the whole of the UK Restless Minds tour. If you wanted to witness perfection this would be close to it.
Speaking of perfection, as if Ward Thomas fans would not be satisfied enough with just seeing Ward Thomas, I would say they made about half the room more ecstatic with Americana’s other sweethearts The Wandering Hearts as their support act. AJ Dean, Chess Whiffin and Tara Wilcox played a solid harmony blazoned set with songs from their critically acclaimed debut album Wild Silence. They played last years concourse stage at SummerTyne festival in the same venue and just like that day the queue to meet them was crazy. I believe it was still quite a length as showtime for the headliners was getting closer. Let’s just say if you WANT an audience just put both Ward Thomas and The Wandering Hearts on the bill and you WILL get those numbers and one helluva atmosphere.
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