Lauren Jenkins has definitely been one of the most highly anticipated acts of this year’s C2C Festival. She’s been touring since she was 15 and has been named as one of legendary US radio DJ Bobby Bones’s Class Of 2019, as well as being named a One To Watch by the likes of Billboard and Rolling Stone. With her debut album No Saint due for release this Friday, she made her official UK debut at
Jenkins arrived on stage with her acoustic guitar at 12.30 and opened with a joke about how she’d ‘technically’ made her UK debut playing piano on the Tube the day before, then launched into her song Payday. The midtempo track had a fun, playful feel and her vocals had a gorgeous soulful tone as well as a touch of huskiness.
Throughout her 30-minute set Jenkins seized the opportunity to show how versatile she is an artist. Maker’s Mark And You was a bittersweet, subdued track laced with palpable regret alongside Jenkins’ soaring vocals. Meanwhile, her debut single Giving Up The Ghost had a rocky vibe that saw her almost rap the lyrics and hit some massive notes on the chorus, and My Bar had a clipped, twangy melody and fantastically defiant, cutting lyrics as Jenkins sang about refusing to back down in the face of a cheating ex.
One thing which particularly struck me about Jenkins’ performance was her stage presence. Throughout her performance she came across as very chatty and engaging, showing off her wry humour and encouraging the audience to sing along, as well as asking them to drink with her when she downed a shot provided by the bar opposite the stage. She really knows how to work a crowd and it made her very entertaining to watch.
For me the standout song of the set was No Saint, the title track from Jenkins’ upcoming record. It’s an old-school country-sounding song with incredibly honest lyrics that gave Jenkins a chance to show off the power in her voice. The subdued melody put the emphasis firmly on her vocals and meant that when she built up the rhythm towards the end of the song it had a huge impact, with huge cheers from the crowd in response.
After taking a photo with the audience, Jenkins closed her set with Running Out Of Road. The song had a folky, slightly melancholy feel and was packed full of vivid details, with Jenkins belting out the chorus as the crowd sang along with her. It’s clearly a very emotional song for her and one that definitely stayed with me after her performance.
Overall Lauren Jenkins definitely lived up to the hype around her C2C appearances. She has an incredible voice – by turns sweet, rich and powerful – and a great turn of phrase in her lyrics, as well as a winning personality. It all added up to an absolute star moment and showed why she’s one to watch this year. I can’t wait to hear her album now!
Set list: 1. Payday 2. Maker’s Mark And You 3. Give Up The Ghost 4. No Saint 5. My Bar 6. Running Out Of Road Performance date: 9th March 2019
See Lauren Jenkins live at C2C: Country To Country 2019 this weekend at The O2 in London:
Sunday 10th March – Town Square, 1:10 PM
Sunday 10th March – BBC Radio 2 Stage, 2:40 PM