Lewis has kept on the down-low these past few years. Apart from a few tracks released in anticipation of the new album “Midnight” and a few shows here and there, the release of his new album, that we covered here just last week, is the next big thing to happen to him.
This gig, if I’m not mistaken, is Lewis’ first gig in Leeds in two years and the crowd were definitely happy to welcome him back. This was my first time at The Wardrobe and I was so impressed with the venue; such a spacious layout yet perfect for an intimate gig. The staff were lovely and it was overall a great venue for Lewis to return to.
I don’t know about you, but one aspect of a gig I look forward to is discovering new artists through the support acts. This was the first time I’d heard Jordan MacKamper. The Matt Corby/Benjamin Francis Leftwich sound is one I’ve been missing off of my playlist for a while now and we’ve found it now in Jordan. I particularly enjoyed the track “Midnight” off his latest EP “Physics”. MacKamper was a great warm up to the concert and got the crowd involved in almost all of the tracks in his performance.
Enter Lewis. The crowd were ready for his perfect acoustic sound to grace their ears; waiting in anticipation to hear what new tracks he might intertwine into the set. Starting off with a newer track “Maybe We’re Home”, it was clear from the get-go that Lewis was eager to introduce a more electric feel early on in the set. After playing an old favourite “Sink or Swim”, he went straight back in with “Little Light”; the next release from his upcoming album. He then graced us with a version of “LA Song” which was previously released as a demo but, after choosing to feature it on the new album, he was able to (as he said) “Give it a lovin'” .
Then the band exited and Lewis was left alone with the audience to offer us some of the more intimate songs in the set including “Bones”; one of the first songs he ever released which he brought back to the set due to popular demand before going “Into the Wild”. He expressed how this track became quite a powerful, big song but how he decided to bring us a stripped back version as it was originally planned to be.
At this point, the battery in his guitar prevented him from playing the next song. Instead of pausing while it was sorted, like a pro, he carried on. He did something he’d never done before and that was to sing a perfect version of “Halo” acapella. It could have gone terribly wrong but it was far from that and while he said he “longed for the strings” as he was without his guitar, the crowd were almost thankful that the battery went.
The band were back to carry on the set with “Hello Hello” as well as “Outgrow”; a song about having a fab childhood. It was then time for a never heard before track with, what he described as “a happy sounding sad song” which he’d found hard to perfect before but with “Forever” he managed to incorporate both his more electric feel with his familiar acoustic sound for this track. “Castle Street” was next before another new one “When The Water Meets the Mountains”. This was written about the end of the world and we have a Steve Carrell film he saw on a plane to thank for the drowning and dying inspiration for this track.
Lewis then gave a shout out to his dad before playing his old man’s favourite “#9” then dropping another new track- “Deep The Water” which quickly became a personal fave which he described as a song about “being used and stuff”. We have strings to look forward to on this track but without them, it sounded just as great as we would expect from Lewis. Watson then ended with one of his most popular tracks “Stay” and oh how I wish we could have done just that to hear more of the new tracks as well as revisiting old ones.
As always, Lewis fed into the audience, commanding the stage with ease and improvising like a pro. With his charisma and charm, it’s hard not to notice that his mesmerising live playing is not one to miss. With “Midnight”s release in March, he will be set out on a tour sooner than you realise and we highly recommend you go down and get your tickets as Lewis makes his comeback after two years – doing what he does best and playing to a live audience.