The Bristol O2 on November 13th housed some pretty awesome music. The headliner was Saint Raymond, but the energy and sleekness of his two support acts, B O A and Louis Berry, cannot be overlooked. B O A opened the night, the three-piece Bristol based band making the stage glimmer with their pulsing synths – ‘Holier’ is certainly a track to check out, and B O A one to watch. Although in complete contrast to Saint Raymond in terms of sound, the crowd warmed to them and their summery-hazy lyrics left them in a trance.
Louis Berry soon shattered this tranquillity, changing the whole vibe with his sparky, genuine energy. Here was a guy who wanted to get the crowd stomping along to his country-infused folk rock, even calling for crowd involvement on ‘25 Ways’. He impressed, coming across as the perfect mix between country-esque Jake Bugg and sharing the maturity and impressive vocals of George Ezra; his old school feel was matched by his Teddy Boy image, and his four/five song set almost felt too short even if we all knew it meant Saint Raymond was next.
Taking to the stage, Saint Raymond – or Callum as the audience excitedly yelled over to him – opened with ‘Letting Go’: a little predictable perhaps, but none the less effective in ramping up the energy of the room. As one of his best known tracks, he made sure that everyone was aware that he had arrived.
THE BAND SEEMED AS EXCITED AS THE AUDIENCE
–The set had a freshness to it as the first gig of the tour, and the band seemed as excited as the audience, with Callum chatting away about the use of ‘Come Back to You’ in the latest River Island campaign. Not only was his personality on point, but delivery was too. ‘Young Blood’, ‘Come Back To You’ and ‘Wild Heart’ also got the audience going, even if at other times it felt a little subdued with various younger members of the audience choosing to experience it through the screen of their smart phones rather than dancing along (with me).
Halfway through, Saint Raymond treated the audience to an intimate rendition of ‘Never Let You Go’, ‘As We Are Now’ and ‘Movie in My Mind’; the lighting altered to bask Callum in a halo of light, and the band left the stage to create the intimacy and intensity required to give these beautiful ballads justice. Their stripped back nature was effective, and acted as a ‘cool down’ period before the audience were treated to a fantastic cover of ‘Lean On’ by Major Lazer and DJ Snake, as well as new material. You heard me correctly: Saint Raymond revealed that he is working on album two already, which will include ‘We Are Fire’. The sound was a little different – more B O A than Louis Berry – but was distinctively Saint Raymond in that it was easy to pick up and sing-a-long to.
The encore was perhaps the most controversial part of the evening, with the unusual choices of ‘Bonfires’ and ‘Ghosts’ being performed. ‘Bonfires’ only appears on the deluxe edition of Young Blood while ‘Ghosts’ is the title-track of a 2014 EP, so perhaps less well known than some others he didn’t choose to perform, such as ‘Carry Her Home’, although, as rumours have it, he rarely performs this live. Either way, ‘Ghosts’ proved a great way to close the show – coming into the audience, Callum taught everyone the chorus and bridge, which carried on well after he had left the stage, lingering on the air of a Bristol evening.
Overall, this was a very impressive show and great fun to be part of. The support acts both hold great promise, and were the perfect warm up as they drew out different aspects of Saint Raymond’s image and sound who himself was more than I expected.