30th November | SWX

It was late November when it was revealed that Lewis Capaldi had made the BBC Music Sound of 2018 long list. And with this discovery comes a lot of promise and no doubt some pressure for the 21 year old Scot. In his recent show at SWX he certainly delivered.

He opened his set as powerfully as expected with an incredible rendition of his as yet unreleased single, ‘Tough.’ In fact, powerful doesn’t accurately represent this young man’s vocals. He slips between raspy and intense in one lyric then to a softer but just as rich vocal in another. Lewis at times played the guitar and at others was supported by a guy on keys, but his voice really is the centre of the show. He ended most songs with an elongated note of considerable skill and power, abruptly switching to his equally musical Scottish lilt and a humble proclamation of ‘cheers.’

During those songs where the guitar is put aside, and his accomplice takes up his position behind the keyboard, Lewis stands behind the mic with his scraggly blonde hair and an oversized stripy jumper. He’s clearly used to having a guitar in his hands as they are used to further express the power of his vocals and the emotion of his lyrics. He delivers each line with passion, scrunching his face and closing his eyes, swaying to and from the mic.

Many of his songs are melancholic, a fact that Lewis humorously acknowledges. They are all equally catchy with strong choruses and key verses, perfect for any fan to attempt to singalong to. There are livelier numbers including ‘Mercy’ and ‘Half the World Away,’ but it is still clear this guy has a lot of feelings and should properly participate in better relationships.

His show reveals some of the struggles of an impeccable vocalist. Lewis’ notes the luck of the audience to have the pleasure of hearing one particular note, claiming ‘Reading didn’t get that one.’ He also expertly encourages the audience to help out with a few of the tracks to which they happily oblige. Despite these comments, it’s hard to believe Lewis struggles with any vocal challenges.

He’s also a real funny guy, at one point asking the audience ‘this is going alright isn’t it?’ The self-deprecating comments about not being good with on-stage chat appear completely erroneous given his comfort with humour and entertaining. Lewis is a guy that engages with his fans on a personal level, endeavouring to reply to all comments on Facebook even when unnecessary. This trait features in his live shows too, with promises to come out and say hello after the show and even dedicating a song to an audience member.

The sold-out crowd were entirely enthralled by Lewis’ performance. There were less phones and photos than anticipated given the target generation. Many appear silent waiting with bated breath for his incredible vocals. They did sing back at some points including during one of his leading singles ‘Fade,’ which brought a glow to Lewis’ face. The crowd dissipated fast after the ending track, no doubt in order to meet this charismatic, likeable and incredibly talented young guy.

Lewis was supported by Freya Ridings, a 23 year old from London with equally beautiful vocals. Her performance was classically and predictably melancholic but delivered with a huskiness and softness that isn’t quite replicated elsewhere. In another nod to the struggles of a vocalist she had a little slip that the unskilled ear could barely hear from which she recovered with such expertise to deliver a truly exceptional ending note.

This show was an emotional rollercoaster full of incredible talent and ones-to-watch. 2017 was Lewis’ breakthrough year, but 2018 holds much more for this talented young man.’

Watch Lewis’ live session performing ‘Lost On You’ below.