Charlie Simpson at the Waterfront, Norwich, 21/10/11 (support from Andrew Balkwill, We Were Evergreen & Dave McPherson)
Charlie Simpson – familiar to many people my age as “that guy who was in Busted”. Well, he's matured since then, but his voice is as good as ever. Before I get onto that though, let's have a quick look at the support acts.
Kicking off the evening was Andrew Balkwill. One man and a piano and one hell of an opening set. Bluesy, jazzy, sing-along-able goodness. I feel he took the audience slightly by surprise, but the crowd was soon getting into the spirit of things – his is music that makes you move. To be honest, I'd have loved for him to play a slightly longer set, but at four (or was it five?) songs, it was a nice little introduction.
Moving on, We Were Evergreen. A somewhat avant-garde, slightly poppy three piece band from Paris. And they were oh so good. Bouncy, energetic and loud. Take loud as a good thing here. Plus, there is always something awesome about a band that uses a ukulele and xylophone in their music. The crowd really took to them – plenty of bobbing and bouncing going on now. Then of course there was the epic outro to their final song, which unfortunately I can't remember the name of. When I say epic, I mean it. This outro just didn't want to end.
Having ramped up the energy with We Were Evergreen, Dave McPherson slowed the pace a little. One man and an acoustic guitar this time. He might be familiar to some as the frontman of alternative rock band InMe, but for the most part I think he was pretty unknown at this gig. His set got off to a decent start and then he managed to break one of the strings on his guitar. Then he managed to hurt his finger while restringing it. Kudos to him for keeping up the banter and generally keeping the crowd entertained while he was solving the problem. All in all, he played a pretty good set, although given the high energy performance of We Were Evergreen, it seemed a bit of a come down. That said, he closed with a cover of Boom Shake The Room (y'know, the Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff?), so I think it can be forgiven.
And so finally, we come to Charlie Simpson. Yes, that bloke from Busted. He was in Fightstar too, not that I've personally ever listened to them. Moving on... Tonight's set was made up of a selection of tracks from his solo album, released this year. More towards the mellow side, with some lovely vocal harmonies. The energy levels spiked again and give or take a few girls screaming “Charlie, I love you”, pretty much the whole crowd was singing along. Tucked in amongst his own material was a brilliant cover of Cutting Crew's (I Just) Died In Your Arms with some lovely harmonica parts courtesy of Nick Worpole (also of Me And The Mountain, shameless plug). Overall, a wonderful set with yet another epic outro going on. Oh, how I love outros...
Ahem. So anyway, if you're in the UK, totally check out the tour dates and if you can get to one: GO. A nice mix of support acts and a fantastic headliner.