Singer-songwriter Charlie Worsham’s star is rising rapidly ahead of the release of his second album, ‘Beginning of Things (due out in April). He was one of my highlights of C2C this year, so I was excited to see what he would bring to a full-length set at Borderline last night.
Charlie came on to a rapturous reception and it was obvious from the start that the audience were hanging on his every word and singing along throughout. That created a great vibe between him and the crowd and it was clear he was feeding off their energy. He was really warm and engaging throughout, telling stories about what he’d been up to in London and joking about the current situation in America which got everyone laughing.
That storytelling carried over into the songs, with Charlie’s clever lyrics and quick delivery working well together without being overwhelming. In particular I loved the more humorous songs, such as ‘Lawn Chair, ‘The Naked Song’ and the Beatles-esque ‘Take Me Drunk I’m Home’; it’s rare to find an artist who can pull that off, but he does it in spades. He also showed off his impressive guitar skills throughout, including a bluegrass section that got a thunderous round of applause!
The set list covered a real mix of songs from Charlie’s debut LP ‘Rubberband’ and his new record, from uptempo songs like ‘Young To See’ and ‘Cut Your Groove’ to rockier moments on ‘Rambling On’, which he mashed up with Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Throughout the set Charlie’s vocals were very strong, showcasing real power and emotion. However, I felt he particularly shone on the slower numbers such as ‘For Old Times Sake’ and ‘How I Learned To Pray’, the latter of which held the previously rowdy crowd absolutely spellbound. ‘Call You Up’ was another highlight; you could hear the rawness in his voice and it sounded spectacular played on just acoustic guitar, in comparison to the horns on the studio version.
For the encore Charlie played a version of Kenny Rogers’ ‘The Gambler’ (which was my favourite of his three covers of the night), as well as his first US single ‘Could It Be’, the ballad ‘Mississippi in July’ and ‘Rubberband’. Those four songs worked absolutely perfectly as a showcase for his talents as a musician and a storyteller as well as his impressive vocal range – almost like a version of the whole show in miniature.
Overall Charlie’s performance was fantastic and I didn’t want it to end. It’s obvious that he loves playing in the UK (and the audience love him) – he promised to come back ‘twice a year for the rest of my life’ – and with songs and style like that it won’t be long before he’s packing out far bigger venues. I can’t wait for the new album and hope he comes back over here soon!
Set List: 1. Wired That Way 2. I Ain’t Going Nowhere 3. Call You Up 4. Please People 5. How I Learned To Pray 6. Ramble On/Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana cover) 7. Lawn Chair 8. Cut Your Groove 9. Trouble Is 10. Take Me Drunk I’m Home 11. The Only Way To Fly 12. Rich Girl (Hall & Oates cover) 13. The Naked Song 14. For Old Times Sake 15. Young To See 16. Tools Of The Trade 17. Southern By The Grace Of God Encore: 18. The Gambler (Kenny Rogers cover) 19. Could It Be 20. Mississippi In July 21. Rubberband Performance Date: Thursday 16th March 2017