Headliner: Lukas Nelson
Support Acts: The Wandering Hearts.
Venue: Shepherds Bush Empire, London.
Date: June 27th 2019.
The Wandering Hearts.
2018 was a exciting year for The Wandering Hearts with the release of their debut album “Wild Silence” as well as being awarded the Emerging Artist Award at the UK Americana Awards. However I was personally unaware of them until I was introduced to them at Country to Country back in March. I instantly fell in love realising then why they are one of the favourites in the UK country music scene. I was more than excited to hear that they would be the supporting act for Lukas’ show at the Shepherds Bush. During their 40 minute set they played a total of nine songs; giving me the chance to experience more of them than what I had done at C2C. Music is clearly something that The Wandering Hearts were born to do.
The first song of the set, Fire and Water, seemed to be a fan favourite as all around me I could hear people cheering as well as singing along. The highlight of the set for me was the second song “Wish I could” and how they opened this track with no backing music focusing on their strong harmonies as well as vocals overall. They played several more tracks including Nobody’s Fool along with Rattle. What I loved was that they let the crowd get a taste of new music to come by performing tracks titled “Your Love Hurts” and “Gold” which was co-wrote by the band and guitarist Julian. Ending the set with a signature track “Devil” left the crowd loudly applauding the bands performance. In my opinion Tara, AJ and Chess are incredible singers on their own; however when they perform the harmonies together the sound they create is damn near perfection. I’ve ranked them in my top three for support/opening acts for 2019 tours and I go to a lot of shows so that’s saying something. They are simply incredible.
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Lukas Nelson was the highlight of my Country to Country experience in March 2018; so much so that I saw him three times in 24 hours at the festival. I literally changed my whole schedule so that I could see him as many times as possible in the given time frame. Lukas was born to play guitar, to sing and most importantly he is a natural-born performer, like his father. I was sad to have missed his previous show in summer of 2018 but promised myself that the next time he was in the UK I would be there which led me to London on June 27th.
Collectively with his band they are known as Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real; following their work with Bradley Cooper on A Star is Born they have gained more attention in the public eye. The work Nelson did with Bradley shows how versatile, unique and passionate Lukas is about music, whether he is performing or writing it! Its no surprise that their most recent album titled “Turn of the News (Build a Garden)” has received nothing but constant praise.
Lets now focus on the show that Lukas and Promise of the Real played at Shepherds Bush Empire on June 27th 2019. My expectations were high; the days before the show I questioned if he could meet them but from the moment he walked onto stage I knew that I, along with the rest of the crowd, was in for a magical night. Before he event started to sing the crowd was going wild – myself included – then they opened the set with “Something Real” which sent the crowd a little more crazy. It was the perfect track to set the scene for the rest of the set which lasted a little under two hours. By choosing this song to open with it gave the crowd the opportunity to experience the range of talent that each member of the band has including their ability to jam together flawlessly.
As I’ve mentioned Nelson is a versatile artist who sets no limits on his sound; the talent he, along with his band, posses to be able to move between different musical styles seems to be endless. If we focus on the vocals for just a moment there are tracks you can hear Nelsons southern country drawl, such as “Forget About Georgia” and “Four Letter Word”, then there are songs where his vocals take on a whole new sound such as “Start to go” and “Die Alone”. As if the talent on the stage wasn’t enough to keep me hooked there was something else which figuratively kept me on the edge of my seat, not able to take my eyes of the stage for one moment. The guitar skills showcased by Nelson are some of the best that I have ever seen, EVER, not only is he a fantastic player with his hands but he can play with his teeth.
I’ve seen the collaboration of “Find Yourself” that Nelson performed alongside his support act The Wandering Hearts. It was a beautiful version of an already incredible song. Lukas always sing “Forget About Georgia” with such emotion and passion, almost as though he is taking us along on the journey to paint a picture of the story that influenced that song. It will always be one of my favourite songs by him whether its live or not. I don’t know if its the country drawl he sings it with or the lyrics; or the instrumentation – but something about that song gives me goosebumps every single time. Hearing “Turn of the News” again after hearing it over a year prior to this show was even better than I remembered too. It touches on a real issue in modern day society where people are far too focused on things that they can’t influence yet forget about the beauty of the life they have in front of them. I love the track more every time I hear it.
The crowds reaction when the set came to an end only added to those goosebumps, there is something about the loud roars of cheers coming from a room filled with fans who share your love for the artist on stage that leaves me speechless. However, there was no amount of noise that could have even touched the standard that Lukas and his band deserved following their perfect performance. There are also not enough words that could let me give you enough of an insight to understand my feelings at the end of that show; all I will say is you need to experience it for yourself.
Overall Lukas Nelson along with his band, once again took my breath away and exceeded all expectations, even if previously I had questioned their ability to do so. I really feel that each time I’ve seen him live he has got better and better; almost as though he challenges himself to improve every time. He has one of the most authentic voices in the whole of the music industry today, pair that together with the passion for music the whole band share and you have the whole package. Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real show no plans of slowing down; the music keeps getting better, furthermore the energy the have on stage is electric. I can’t wait for their return to the UK whenever that is; and anybody who gets the chance to see them should take that opportunity.
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