THE LOBBY of The Lowry Theatre has never been so full of excitable middle aged women, until vocalist Nathan Carter brought them all out on Sunday (September 18) night. She may not be middle-aged but we sent Misha Solanki along to check the Irish singer out…

As the crowd trailed into the Lyric Theatre, it soon became clear that the average age of this near sell-out show was around 40-years-old, but that didn’t stop them from creating a buzzing atmosphere as the crowd sat waiting for the show to begin.

It wasn’t clear whether there was going to be an opening act or not, but when the curtain first lifted and there stood in the middle of the stage was a young woman, just her and her guitar it was clear that a lot of the audience were not expecting her.

With no introduction as to who she was, she started playing a cover of Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own‘ and it was only after that, that she introduced herself with a thick Irish accent as Triona Carville.

Carville went on to play a few more of her own songs, explaining before each one what they meant to her, her inspiration to write them and she just began to let loose and converse more freely with the audience.

The longer she was on stage the more comfortable she seemed to get and it was interesting to watch the audience get more and more enthused by her performance after every song.

After playing ‘Sacrifice‘, ‘Keep Pushing On‘ and ‘Invisible‘, all of which written by her, she then got the whole crowd singing along to her version of Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger‘.

The Northern Irish singer finished her 20-minute set with a preview of her unreleased track ‘Warrior‘.

By this point she had changed from the vulnerable young woman singing in front of this large audience to a singer who was in her element, showing off her powerful voice to a crowd that was falling in love with her and her voice.

Triona Carville made clear to everyone in attendance that she is someone to definitely look out for in the future.

After a 20-minute interval, it was finally time for the main event.

As the curtain rose again, the crowd were expecting to see Carter, yet the stage was empty bar the musical equipment.

The blue flashing stage lights were pulsing and the overhead drum beat was getting quicker and quicker, all this was getting the crowd clapping along and getting them in the mood ready for the show.

The audience then rose to their feet as Carter and his six-man band come bouncing on to the stage.

The show truly started with ‘Two Doors Down‘ straight away bringing an upbeat party vibe into the Lyric Theatre.

The stage was covered in dancing strobe lights, which was a big change from the opening act.

Carter’s 20+ setlist included ‘King of The Road‘, ‘Skinny Dipping‘ and ‘Caledonia‘ – a nice mix of covers and singles from his albums ‘Beautiful Life‘ and ‘Stayin’ Up All Night‘ which gave name to the tour.

Carter might be the name in lights for this show but the band played a huge part.

There was many a moment where he took a step out of the spotlight and let his musicians take over during their solos.

It was clear that ‘the lads’ as they were collectively known had a really good rapport and banter between them and it really made for a good show.

Throughout the duration of the show, Carter was constantly interacting with the crowd, receiving a cake from one woman and even kneeling down to give another on the front row a kiss on the lips!

He did a fantastic job of making sure that everyone in the room felt included in the show, no matter where they were sat.

Country music as a whole isn’t something that is seen as very popular in an industry dominated by pop, but Carter and his band are definitely bringing it back and making it more accessible and enjoyable for all demographics.

With this being the last night of their UK tour, it was clear that ‘the lads’ had come to party, with Carter even asking the crowd whether anyone was “up for a house party after the show.”

This show was a real experience from start to finish, redefining what I thought country/folk music would be like.

Carter, his band and his whole production team really know how to put on a show that caters to everyone and even if it might not be something you think you’d like, ‘Stayin’ Up All Night‘ is an album worth paying some attention to.

By Misha Solanki

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