“I’ll let you all into a wee secret… 5 minutes ago I was backstage taking a shit, and now I’m out here in front of all of you, playing my biggest headline show ever!”
After support sets from Billy Lockett, and Nina Nesbitt, ABBA‘s Mamma Mia echoed through Manchester’s Albert Hall as 22 year-old Lewis Capaldi took to the stage on Tuesday night – then a record scratch, and latest single Grace begins. Capaldi’s talent is undeniable, he has a particular flair for tender and emotive songwriting, and when this is twinned with his sensational raw vocals the result is the most lethal cocktail which is guaranteed to leave you just a little bit weepy. Admittedly, Grace is actually one of his more upbeat tracks, though I was ever so slightly disappointed he didn’t bang out the EXQUISITE dance routine from the music video released back in September…
Having only released 7 songs at the time, Lewis commented that it did mean a lot of the evening would be soundtracked by ‘a lot of shite’ that the audience won’t know. This is usually where a lot of artists lose their audience’s attention, but not Lewis. The audience of 1800 remained utterly enthralled, and by cleverly sandwiching the newer tracks between ‘the hits’ it meant that the rare moment of quiet between the gargantuan sing-a-longs never lasted very long at all.
If for whatever reason music doesn’t work out for Capaldi (which at this rate, seems very unlikely), he could almost certainly have a career as a comedian. When the crowd wasn’t belting out every lyric with him, or sat on the floor SOBBING like the girl behind me was (Yes. Really.), then they were laughing. Regularly cracking jokes about how completely depressing his music is, or at how high the stage was, meaning there was a 90% chance that everyone’s photos of him would be unflattering. “If any of you put a picture up of me with a double chin, I’m fucking coming for you”, he jests. During one of his new tracks, an audience member gave Capaldi a wolf-whistle – he stops playing and chuckles into the microphone, “thank you mate, but can I finish the song now?”.
Towards the end of the set, Lewis introduced undeniable fan favourite Lost on You, the song he declared to be not only the best song he’s ever written, but in fact the best song ever written by anyone. I suppose we can let him have that. He comments on just how much fun he’s had on stage tonight, something that is very evident on the singer’s face, and then proceeds to encourage the room to join in with the track’s first line of ‘lately I’m getting lost on you’. As the song approaches its final chorus, the room were singing the lyrics back to him at such an unbelievable decibel that he stopped singing altogether, standing back to watch in wonderment. After essentially ending the song for him, he waits until the cheers have died down before singing the final verse again on his own – “only I get to finish my fucking songs”, he quips.
He goes off on a witty little spiel about the ridiculous nature of encores, finishing it with “ANYWAY, that’s exactly what’s about to happen right now”. Lewis and his band exit briefly, then return to the opening notes of his breakthrough ballad Bruises, bringing the night to its emotional climax. “If you’ve had a good time tonight, tell all your friends, tell everyone you know. If you’ve had shite time tonight, keep it to your fucking self. Thank you”, are the final words from Capaldi before he waves and wanders off stage, grinning ear to ear.
I first encountered (and subsequently fell a bit in love with) Lewis Capaldi in December of 2016, he was supporting Lewis Watson at the Electric Circus in Edinburgh. The tiny room of no more than 200 mostly ignored him, talking over a lot of of his set – the same could not be said on Tuesday night. Stood in the stunning chambers of Manchester’s Albert Hall at what was now Capaldi‘s biggest headline gig to date, I couldn’t help but feel ever so slightly like a proud mum. It’s joyous to see the Scottish singer getting the admiration and recognition that I believe he so truly deserves. I’m excited to see where he goes from here. What is perhaps most admirable about Capaldi other than his very obvious talent, is the fact he doesn’t take himself too seriously, and that’s refreshing. He’s charismatic, witty, and exuberant, making him an absolute pleasure to watch. Lewis Capaldi has had a sensational year, and with a catalogue that’s ever expanding and an army of devoted fans rallied behind him, things can only get better.
Lewis’ new EP Breach is out now, listen below x