Crowds had already started gathering outside the venue long before doors for the Meet and Greet were even due to open. By the time I’d got there, all the front spaces had been taken, leaving me to find a nice spot in the balcony.
First up was solo artist, Channy Thompson, from her opening song choice, Euphoria it was evident that she could give a powerful vocal. The crowd warmed to her immediately, singing along to every word without prompt. What I found most interesting was her unique take on every cover she performed. Her slower rendition of Tina Turner’s The Best allowed the audience to hear the full range of her vocals, whilst also incorporating the more modern choice of Demi Lovato’s ballad, Skyscraper. Finally, she ended her setlist on Jess Glynne’s chart-topping Hold My Hand, taken up to a higher key, and leaving the crowd feeling ready for more.
Next up was Annabel Pattinson, lead vocals and acoustic guitar of her band made up of: electric guitar, keyboards, bass and drums. From the moment they started playing, it was clear that they gelled together well and complemented one another as musicians. Their setlist was a clever mix of originals and covers; allowing the audience to get a feel for their sound, as well delivering songs guaranteed to get the crowd involved. I was impressed with the high quality of their material, given that they’re a young band, the sound was catchy yet unique; with Annabel’s vocals taking on the power and strong tones of rising West End star, Amelia Lily. Original numbers such as, Deserve Nothing and You’re No Man really caught my attention and displayed a real flair within their song-writing ability. Their covers were well chosen and steered cleared of your typical crowd pleasers. Their up-tempo rendition of the Arctic Monkeys’ classic I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor surged the crowd into a frenzy, as they executed the hard-hitting drum beats and intense guitar melodies to a standard, that bands far more experienced than their own try hard to pull off. Similarly, their version of Buzzcocks’ Ever Fallen In Love was laced with rocky tones from Annabel, matching the recklessness of the song.
Finally, our headline act The Waiters took to the stage to a plethora of screams and cheers from the 400+ crowd. They kicked off their set with their up-tempo anthem, Back Where I Began; a song that I first heard at their Barfly gig and what caused me to start listening to their music in the first place. It marked a strong start to the set, with the crowd whole-heartedly participating. From then on the only way was up, as they launched into Run With Me: a fast-paced number with catchy lyrics to fit. Not only were their originals up to scratch, they also delivered just as well with their covers. The most popular being their Black Magic/Blank Space/Want To Want Me medley (which received Twitter approval from Little Mix themselves!) a perfect mash up of today’s most popular hits delivered with such high energy and style from the lads. From the very start the guys had the crowd in the palm of their hand, with everyone waiting in anticipation for every song, and ready to jump, scream and cheer when it came. By the time I had managed to push my way onto the floor, it was literally bouncing with everybody’s excitement. The band also proved just how diverse they are, as they slowed down the pace for, One In A Million. The song was filled with beautiful harmonies and was an amazing display of their skills on the guitar, both acoustic and electric. After a few more pop-rock covers in 5 Seconds of Summer’s Good Girls and Walk The Moon’s Shut Up And Dance, it was time to treat the crowd to two more originals: Hey You and their closing number, The Party Song. The gig felt like it finished all too quickly, as the guys made their way to do a signing on the lower floor of the academy. I was planning on joining the queue but as I went to leave, the line of fans had already snaked its way up the stairs stretching further than I could see!
Overall, it was a high-energy gig that showcased some amazing local talent in a well-chosen and intimate setting. The Waiters are definitely a band to watch out for, and deserve every success that’s coming their way.