LONDON singer songwriter King Charles took to Manchester Academy 3 last night. Quays News entertainment reporter Coral-Jade Daniels went along…

King Charles and Ryan O’Reilly were entirely captivating and had the audience hanging on to every note. The passion could be seen oozing from all the musicians, which is great to see when they are so underrated, most would give up after a few years, but these guys gave it their all and continued to impress.

It has been four years since King Charles released his debut ‘Love Blood’ and the fans have been eagerly awaiting January’s release ‘Gamble for a Rose’ and this was the first gig of the tour; the first time the new tracks have had a live audience and the reception was better than expected, considering the stripped back sound of this album.

First to take to the stage was O’Reilly with his emotional vocals and contemporary folk sound. Each of his songs were sung from the soul with the meaning and emotion behind them showing on his face, to the point where it was uncomfortable to watch at times, when he looked like he was in pain-straining to get the words out. Despite this, his voice had a purity in the tone and created a tranquil atmosphere that only got disturbed by the clapping and cheers of the crowd.

He took advantage of the time between songs to engage in humorous small talk, giving little anecdotes about his past and what the songs were written about. The story of ‘stalking your ex on Facebook’ before the sarcastic tone of the lyrics in ‘Your New Man’ got a barrel of laughs from the audience, who clearly could relate to the story of seeing your ex-partner happy with someone new and you trying to fault them.

Ryan OReilly

The same could be said about ‘Evil Quarter mile’ and the links between the song and the time O’Reilly spent as a Jack the Ripper tour guide, when he lived in London, which also appeared to be a favourite. ‘November’ and ‘The One’ were a couple of other songs that got a good reaction but nothing quite like the response to King Charles.

King Charles’ set list was a rollercoaster, weaving between the calm and simplicity of new tracks such as ‘St Peter’s Gate’, and the older, more complex and fuller sound of ‘Love Blood’. The highlight songs from the new album were: ‘Choke’, ‘Lady of the River’, ‘Gamble for a Rose’ and ‘New Orleans’. These gave a nice breather after the chaos caused from songs such as the climatic ‘Bam Bam’ and ‘Mississippi Isobel’ that not only left the band sweating and stuck for breath but the audience too. The only down side to the slower and calmer songs were the discussions breaking out in the audience that was distracting to anyone who genuinely appreciated the poetic romance of the new album.

King CharlesOne of the best performances was of ‘The Brightest lights’ which featured an extended and more ferocious instrumental than the album version; giving this a heavier indie rock sound rather than folk but it certainly got everyone moving and some moshing. The set ended with ‘Lady of the River’, ‘Love Lust’ and ‘Lady Percy’ which were all equally great too, even if you were left wanting more still. Whilst that is where the music ended, the fan/musician interaction was just beginning, as both King Charles and O’Reilly stayed back after the show to speak to the fans and sign their merchandise and take photos. This was a great opportunity for the fans to get to know the real person behind the stage personas and gave the event a more personal touch that won’t be forgotten.

In conclusion, this was an awesome gig if you are a fan of folk music with a relaxed atmosphere, allowing everyone to unwind after a long day. It seems that ‘Gamble for a Rose’ has not had the impact that Love Blood did on the fans, but after tonight’s show it is certainly going to grow on people once they get familiar with the maturity of this one.

By: Coral-Jade Daniels

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