A number of talented singer-songwriters have emerged from these shores over the last few years, most notably names like Jake Bugg and George Ezra. And, judging from their performances at Leicester’s O2 Academy, a trio of new acts look set to be adding their names to the conveyor belt of young artists heading towards the top of British music.
Callum Burrows, better known as Saint Raymond, is currently embarking on a nationwide tour to promote his debut album, Young Blood, which climbed to number eight in the charts following its summer release. Joining him on the tour are two very different but no less talented artists, Shannon Saunders and Louis Berry.
Saunders was first up, captivating the crowd with her mesmerising vocal talents, while her clever lyrics dovetailed perfectly with the laidback synth-sound created by her keyboardist. Her second song ‘Electric’ was a highlight, as was the excellent ‘Sheets’, a lament to the insecurities felt in many a relationship.
In the second support slot was Berry, a Scouse songsmith who stole the show with a seven-song salvo of blistering rock ‘n’ roll. However, Berry made a far from auspicious start, with his vocals on ‘Give Me What You Want’ rendered almost inaudible as he struggled to project himself over the sound of his band.
A false start then followed on ‘25 Reasons’, with Berry bemoaning that there was “too much crackle” coming from his guitarist. No sooner had he stopped, though, than he started again, and, although still seemingly unhappy with the sound, he proceeded to play a near-faultless set from thereon in.
His swaggering arrogance and raw, snarling vocals on tracks such as ‘45’ were reminiscent of a young Liam Gallagher, and with a certain country feel to songs such as ‘Restless’, reinforced by his all-black attire, he even seemed to be paying homage to Jonny Cash himself.
Ending his set with ‘Rebel’ – perhaps an insight into Berry’s character, he had the crowd bouncing and suitably excited for the headline act, though many were perhaps wishing the Liverpudlian’s set would never end.
Following Berry would be no mean feat, but from the opening number, ‘Letting Go’, Nottingham lad Raymond had the sell-out crowd enraptured by his crisp, clear sound, spectacular light show and his anthemic brand of indie rock.
Raymond is a born showman, energetic and engaging, and it was no surprise to see his audience clap and sing their way through his mammoth 17-song set, particularly during his performance of second single ‘I Want You’. As he finished ‘Ghosts’ and made his pre-encore exit, the crowd came together in unison to warble the song’s refrain in a lengthy show of spine-tingling appreciation, desperate to see more.
When he eventually resurfaced, he launched into a high-tempo denouement, culminating in a frenzied rendition of‘Fall At Your Feet’, leaving the crowd in no doubt that they had seen three of British music’s shining light.