Only a brave person would embark on a headline tour in a country where they haven’t yet released any music. Having recently signed a major label deal with Warner Music Nashville, Australian singer-songwriter Morgan Evans made his UK debut at the weekend performing at Buckle and Boots. He followed that performance with a handful of headline solo shows as a way of introducing himself and his music to UK audiences. To date Evans has released a self-titled album in Australia back in 2014 following two EPs in 2012.
Last night Evans made his final stop on his tour at The Borderline in London. I spoke with Evans prior to the show and he explained that the show would be all about showcasing his new music, which is coming later this year. As he took to the stage Evans opened with original song What I’m Supposed To Do, which he turned into a mash-up with Black Eyed Peas favourite I Got a Feelin’ and Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud. It was the first of several mash-ups he performed over the course of the evening, inviting the audience to join in and sing-a-long to the songs they knew.
What became clear early on in the set is that Evans has a fantastic voice and a big personality. He introduced his band, which was his loop pedal, and each song he built up using his acoustic guitar, his vocals and his loop pedal. Thanks to the rise of Ed Sheeran, loop pedals are becoming more commonly used and Evans put his to work with great effect. If you’d just overheard the music and not been able to see what was happening on stage, you would have thought he had a full band with him.
His new single Kiss Somebody, which will be released in July, was one of the highlights of the evening. The song tells a tale of needing to move on from someone by finding a person to kiss. It’s perfect for contemporary country radio and it brings to mind Keith Urban around the Golden Road era. Evans segued into Justin Bieber’s Love Somebody before returning to Kiss Somebody to bring the song to an end.
For an artist that is only just connecting with UK audiences, Evans gave a confident performance and his set list was clever. Personally I would have preferred a few more originals at the expense of the mash-ups but it was important for him to include those so the audience could get involved over the course of the evening. Evans also covered John Mayer’s Your Body is a Wonderland and his mash-ups included The Beatles’ Hey Jude, Keith Urban’s Somebody Like You, Garth Brooks Friends in Low Places and Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down.
Of his original material the most striking song turned out to be the most simple. Dance With Me, the first song her wrote for his fiancée Kelsea Ballerini, was a beautiful song that showcased Evans’ guitar skills and his stellar voice. The heartfelt lyrics really brought the romantic feel of the song to life and it’s a song I hope is included on Evans’ album. Another highlight was Day Drunk, an ode to letting your hair down and sinking a few drinks in the daylight whilst doing the things you enjoy.
Over the course of his 60-minute set Evans proved that he’s definitely one to watch. He interacted with the audience frequently throughout the set laughing and joking, laughing and joking with them. His vocals were superb and didn’t falter, and his takes on popular songs the audience knew breathed new life into them. He showcased impressive musicianship as he expertly controlled his loop pedal and pulled off some impressive guitar solos. The original material is promising and the influence of Keith Urban is evident. This is clearly just the start of Evans’ rise to global fame and I was very glad I was there to witness his first show in London.
Set List: 1. What I’m Supposed to Do/I Got a Feelin’/Thinking Out Loud 2. Kiss Somebody/Love Yourself 3. Day Drunk 4. Dance With Me 5. Your Body is a Wonderland 6. Everything Changes/Hey Jude 7. I Do 8. We Did It Right/I Won’t Back Down/Somebody Like You/Friends In Low Places 9. Young Again/Shut Up And Dance/Honey I’m Good Performance Date: 29th June 2017