Last night, boyband Concept performed a sold out home gig in Basingstoke’s Central Studio. I went along to check out the five piece in action.
The Central Studio is situated on the campus of Queen Mary’s College, the same college which the Concept lads attended and where the band was formed several years ago. Knowing this made the gig even more special. Wanting to give something back to the college, Concept recently held a competition to find a student to be a support act for the night.
The winning student was Tyrell Trey, and what an opening act he was! At only 17 years old, Tyrell has an extremely soulful voice and opened his set with crowd sing-a-longs to Mario’s “Let Me Love You” and an Ariana Grande medley. Something I liked about Tyrell was the fact that he also performed some very different, lesser known covers. His version of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex Factor” was very emotional as it was a song that had a lot of meaning to him. He also performed “Stronger Than” by one of his inspirations, Gabe Bondoc. Tyrell ended his great set with Paolo Nutini’s “Last Request” which went down well with the audience. I really believe that Tyrell has a bright future ahead of him!
There was also a second support act called Sam Tompkins. His attitude impressed me straight away as he wanted to begin his set with a short silence in memory of all of the people killed or affected by the recent Paris tragedy. After this touching tribute, Sam began his set with a song called “Easier” from his forthcoming EP. He then treated us to a cover of “Dark Times” by The Weeknd and Ed Sheeran – at times, his voice was extremely reminiscent of Ed’s, especially as he was performing acoustically with his guitar. We also got to hear another song from his EP called “Hurt Me” which was really impressive.
Sam continued his set with a super cool cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” which was an instant sing-a-long hit with the crowd. He finished his set on a high with one of the hottest songs of the year, “What Do You Mean?”. His voice was extremely good and his acoustic take on some of the biggest songs was so memorable. I’d love to see him live again soon, he’s another person to look out for in the future!
Finally it was time for the headline act – Concept burst onto the stage with their brilliant cover of “Uptown Funk”, quite easily the best opening song to get the crowd moving. They followed with a brilliant version of Fifth Harmony’s “I’m In Love With A Monster”, complete with a slick rap from Karim.
The boys slowed things down a bit and were joined by a keyboard player for their cover of “Poison” by Rita Ora which complemented their voices really well. They also smashed a Nick Jonas mash-up of “Jealous” and “Levels” which was really popular with the crowd. Their version of Tori Kelly’s “Should’ve Been Us” was also brilliant. The slower songs give the boys a chance to show off their fantastic range of vocals – I must mention Matt and Ben in particular who have such lovely tones to their voices.
The first original song of the night was the incredible “Last Man Standing” – this song was clearly a fan favourite as the crowd sang along to every single word. This song was the beginning of an emotional section in the set. as the boys continued with “XO” and “Run”, two songs that the boys performed during their brief time on The X Factor last year. Nathan’s vocals are always fantastic, but he really shines on these songs. With emotions already running high, Concept continued with another original called “If”, which the boys wrote together. Ben explained the meaning behind the song, and the crowd lit up the room with their phone lights which created a beautiful atmosphere. With the recent tragic events in the news, this song was very poignant and meaningful for everyone in the room.
Keen to get the party started once again, Ben played the opening bars to “Shut Up and Dance” on his guitar and the crowd went absolutely crazy! The energy in the room was electric – Scott in particular is a great showman and knows how to entertain the crowd with his quirky little moves. They continued with a cover of “Black Magic” by everyone’s favourite girl band, Little Mix. They switched up the song with another amazing rap by Karim – his raps are always SO clever as they integrate ideas from the song title. Concept concluded their set with another original song, a super catchy track called “Pretty Just Got Bad”.
As soon as they left the stage, the crowd knew that they weren’t quite finished and after some extremely loud chanting, the boys returned to perform two more songs. It isn’t a Concept gig without their cover of “Radioactive” – this song for me is just Concept all over. High energy, fantastic vocals and another incredible rap – it has everything you could want from a performance! The last song of the evening was another original song called “Young and Rebellious” – the lyrics of this song epitomises the boys as they are young, enjoying life and living the dream. They received a rapturous reception from the crowd, which was highly deserved.
Despite it being a home town gig for the band, fans had travelled from across the country and even from abroad to be at the gig. Concept have a very dedicated following behind them, and with their incredible talent and vivacious personalities it is very clear to see why!
It’s great to see such a humble band enjoy every second on stage. Their on stage banter is so funny and they interact really well with the crowd. I could go on all day about their talent but to sum it up in short, they have it in abundance. It was so touching to see them perform in the place where the band was initially formed and they have come a long way since then. Concept are most definitely a band to look out for in 2016 – I have a sneaky suspicion that it will finally be their time to shine!
Check out the boys on Twitter and watch their latest cover below.