“Thank you so much for spending your Saturday night with us”, Charlie Simpson beams to an adoring 450 capacity crowd at Brighton’s The Old Market. The singer-songwriter is already half way through his acoustic set before taking a breath to speak to the audience. Right from the offset, his exceptional vocals take centre stage. It is startlingly clear that his voice on record certainly doesn’t do his talent justice, as he brings more power to every note than ever expected. Not a second goes by where it doesn’t seem as though Charlie is putting every last drop of emotion and passion into his performance, which is certainly reflected in the adoring crowd.
Although a predominantly acoustic set, there is more energy in the room than has been witnessed in some arena performances. Playing a mix of songs from Young Pilgrim and Long Road Home, highlights include ‘Cemetery’, ‘Would You Love Me Any Less’ and ‘Comets’. Another special moment comes when he performs a highly emotional cover of Imogen Heap’s ‘Hide and Seek’, with an echo in his gravelly voice that certainly causes some goosebumps.
Ending the evening with uplifting tune ‘Farmer and His Gun’, the entire room claps and sings along at the top of their voices. This joy is reflected on stage by Charlie and his bandmates, who barely stop smiling throughout the last few notes. Such a connection between crowd and artist in an intimate venue is a really special thing to witness.
If there is just one downside to the show, it’s that it lasts a mere 50 minutes, certainly leaving us wanting more. It would be quite easy to stand and watch Charlie’s mesmerising performance for hours. For a man with such huge talent and so much success before the age of 30 it still seems as though he is somewhat underrated. With past projects in pop and rock, it seems as that with acoustic folk rock he has certainly found his forte. If you get the chance to see him live, go. You will certainly not be disappointed.