GABRIELLE Aplin kicked off her UK tour at Manchester’s Albert Hall last night and Quays News entertainment reporter Molly Smith was there for us…..

The night began with Wales born solo singer Hannah Grace, who also plays a role in Aplin’s band. Grace performed a six song set which demonstrated the similar acoustic sound that she shared with the headliner. With powerful vocals and adoration for the city, Hannah Grace managed to keep the audience fully involved with her performance from the start. Tracks such as ‘Blue Review’ and ‘Walk Away’ showed the strong vocals that Grace had whereas her final performance of newly released track ‘Keep Your Love’ had a rockier edge showing the versatility of the young star.

Lewis Watson followed up and instantly showed the audience how comfortable he was on the stage as he continued to joke back and forth with the crowd as he tuned his guitar. After performing his first track, ‘Sun and Stones’ in a different key due to a broken tuner, his humour and charismatic persona won the crowd over as well as his original material. His biggest song ‘Stay’ proved to be a crowd favourite with Watson managing to capture the whole audience’s attention.

Aplin took to the stage with her guitar and simple backlighting showing just her as a silhouette to the crowd of awaiting fans. The show started with an intimate performance of ‘Coming Home’ which highlighted the effortlessly beautiful vocals that Gabrielle Aplin is famous for. Since her famous cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘The Power of Love’ for the iconic John Lewis Christmas advert, Aplin has come a long way in terms of her music which she proved at the first stop on her UK tour.

Joined with her band consisting of a violinist, a keyboardist, guitarist, drummer and back up vocalist the 23-year-old singer set out to treat the Manchester crowd with songs from her debut album ‘English Rain’ and her most recent album ‘Light Up The Dark’. Her well-known singles such as ‘Panic Chord’ and ‘Please Don’t Say You Love Me’ proved to be crowd favourites as she reminisced with tracks from her first album, reminding fans where it began. While tracks from her recently released album ’Light Up The Dark’ such as ’Sweet Nothing’, ‘Light Up The Dark’ and ‘Together’ showed the development that her music has had. With Aplin’s recent album fans were shown a more rock influenced edge to her music, contrasted with the folk acoustic sound that her first album had. This contrast was also presented in the show with the more up tempo performances being songs from her most recent album.

Aplin’s encore consisted of an acoustic performance of ‘Salvation’ which was performed by Aplin alone on her keyboard before the rest of the band joined in building the melody of the song the way it does on the studio version. The final performance of the night was ‘Home’,  a track from Aplin’s Top 10 debut album ‘English Rain’. Home’ provided the perfect ending to the 15 song set as it summed up the sound that fans most associate with Aplin, acoustic folk.

Aplin is an artist who is often overlooked, she possesses hauntingly beautiful vocals which need more recognition in her music genre. Her tour is something that must be experienced in order to appreciate the talent that the Wiltshire born singer has.

By: Molly Smith

Fancy taking in a gig in Manchester between February 8-14? Check out our guide to what’s on that week..

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