New Hope Club
Credit: Kirsty Russell @LensOfMusic

Live Review: New Hope Club ‘Road To The Empire’ Fanfest, London, 5/4/18

New Hope Club have dived straight into making 2018 their biggest year to date and as part of this, they’re playing their first run of UK headline shows. Their ‘Road To The Empire’ Fanfests are seeing them play six free sold out shows up and down the country. The first of which took place on Thursday at The Borderline in London and we headed down to the show. With this being their first UK headline show honestly, we and the other fans couldn’t have been more excited about what to come.

Bouncing onto the stage all it took was for Blake Richardson to shout “LONDON!” then the crowd energy was electric. Performing single Fixed it took no time for the trio to get into their stride. Boosted by the crowd singing back each and every word for them, Reece Bibby and George Smith took this time to have a moment to realise yes, this was their own headline show. With only their debut EP Welcome To The Club released so far we knew some new material was going to be thrown into the setlist mix. One of these being Medicine which many fans throughout the audience already knew lyrics to due to it being played at some of their supporting shows last year. This upbeat, feel-good track sings about moving on from someone and knowing you’re better off without them. It’s an empowering track which packs a punch when performed live whilst singing “I don’t need no medicine, I’m better than I’ve ever been” reminding many in the audience when it feels bad at the time it’s likely to pass. It also allowed George Smith to steal the vocal limelight during the second verse much to the delight of fans. Musically this track shows a different side to the trio as Blake Richardson takes this chance to have a little boogie whilst clearly having the time of his life.

Credit: Kirsty Russell @LensOfMusic

Following on with another new track Why Oh Why is a more reflective take on a relationship and live gave a chance for solo vocal standout moments to occur. Lyrically is another area in which the attention on the trio focuses as lines including “Saturday I live forever, Sunday I wake up. To messages and, ten thousand missed calls” giving another relatable take on a real-life experience. With undoubtedly one of New Hope Club’s catchiest choruses to date, the audience pick up the lyrics and leave us asking “why, oh why, oh why?” do the trio not have an album out with this on yet!

Credit: Kirsty Russell @LensOfMusic

Would it really be a New Hope Club show without one of their infamous covers which helped them gain a large portion of their fanbase? Tonight’s chosen one was Sign Of The Times by Harry Styles, a move which once again everybody loved. There was an atmosphere of pure excitement as the crowd sung along enthusiastically. Reece undertook a large vocal part within this track, serenading the audience with his delicate tones making us swoon just a little. Here feels like the perfect time to note that soon after the show Reece was taken ill with a ruptured appendix, no doubt in pain throughout the show he along with Blake and George remained the professionals showing no signs of this black cloud hanging over them. We’d like to wish Reece a speedy recovery from all of us at CelebMix.

Credit: Kirsty Russell @LensOfMusic

A mid-set Q&A showcased Blake’s secret Stormzy love as he showed off his Big For Your Boots skills much to the crowd’s shock and delight. Whilst also revealing that fans soon will be able to join a new club with New Hope Club via their website, we’re not going to spoil the surprise for those not there but it all sounds very exciting! With their new single Start Over Again released just hours after the show when performed live the enthusiasm and excitement of the trio peaked. Having been played at previous live shows fans were singing and dancing as if this was an already released New Hope Club track. Delightfully funky the track shows just what the trio epitomise; fun, nifty guitar work and complementary vocals.

Credit: Kirsty Russell @LensOfMusic

Heading towards the end of the evening Let Me Down Slow got its first live outing. After a chorus snippet was posted on the bands Twitter the night before fans had already learnt the lyrics, very very impressive. Determined to keep the fans on their feet dancing became the theme of the track as it became impossible to stand still during this infectiously catchy track. We’re calling it now that this will be one of New Hope Club’s most well-loved tracks on their yet to be announced album. If you didn’t already know the trio featured on the ‘Early Man’ Film Soundtrack recently and rounded off their triumphant show with their cover of Tiger Feet. The crowd didn’t need to be told twice to go absolutely crazy during this feel-good bop and smiles graced everyone’s faces both on and off stage. Taking the time to meet fans after their set it was lovely to see the trio giving back to the fans who’d played such an important part in their night.

Credit: Kirsty Russell @LensOfMusic

As the show drew to a close it provided a time of reflection about how significant tonight had been in New Hope Club’s career. Their first UK headline showed off perfectly that they’ve come into their own as a band who rightfully deserve to be selling out shows and performing to adoring fans and family in the audience. Throughout it was clear that Blake, George and Reece were loving absolutely every moment of the show as they shared special moments with each other and showed off their strong friendship. Having strengthened their live performance both musically and vocally we felt as if we were part of something really special at Borderline. We just wish the night could start all over again to allow us to relive the magic!

New Hope Club are heading out on tour with The Vamps on their Night & Day Tour starting on Saturday 14th. Keep your eyes on CelebMix for plenty more on New Hope Club as we follow them on their exciting journey. Were you at the London show or will you be heading to any shows on their Road To The Empire fanfests tour? Tweet us @CelebMix to let us know.

All photos by Kirsty Russell: InstagramTwitter



Written by Nicola Craig

Lover of all things pop, a boyband or two, and discovering new artists to get hooked on. You'll usually find me at a gig, truly living my best life without a care in the world.