Live Review: John Newman @ Southampton Guildhall – 27.01.14

Playing in front of an enthusiastic sell-out crowd at the Guildhall in Southampton, John Newman swept away the audience with a superb vocal display. Backed up with amazing pyrotechnics, the Yorkshire born singer/songwriter put on a flawless show, belting out a number of the songs from his chart topping album Tribute.

Support act LOLO kicked off the night with a bang and gave the audience a taster of what was to come by showing off her vocal prowess. A lively performance saw the New Yorker dancing around the stage, and with a four piece band behind her; she really got the crowd in the mood. Singing a few of her own tracks like ‘Year Round Summer of Love’ and ‘Gangsters’ alongside doing a cover of Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ she kept the tempo up throughout and did a great job of warming up the crowd.

As the clock stuck 9.03pm, the lights dimmed and the background music that had been playing in the break fell silent. This brought a rapturous response from the audience as screams, whistles and shouts rung around the O2 Guildhall venue, it was time for John Newman. A holographic image of the pop star illuminated the main stage as lights began to flash around with a jumbled nonsense of words blaring out of the soundsystem, giving it a real atmospheric feel.

The build-up however was almost like it was built for a much heavier sound, as when John Newman’s soulful voice kicked in it almost felt like a bit of an anti-climax. Despite this, his performance was strong, his powerful voice combined with slick dance moves, reminiscent of the one and only King of Pop Michael Jackson, made for a very entertaining show, if not a little short with a set time of only an hour. The much anticipated encore was the most memorable moment of the night, as the fans danced away to Newman’s smash hits ‘Not Giving In’ and ‘Love Me Again’.

John Newman kicked off his European tour at the O2 Guildhall in Southampton with a smooth and well-polished performance, leaving the audience varying from all age groups and genders with a smile on their face. The only criticism would be that the set time was a little bit too short, which was very telling as a man in the crowd wondered aloud: “is it bed time already?”

First published: February 6, 2014


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