John Fullbright at Islington Assembly Hall
The disco ball on the ceiling sprinkles its light dots over the expectant attendees in Islington Town Hall. The grand 1930s building with its art deco decoration was last night the backdrop to the London leg of Oklahoma musician John Fullbright’s world tour. Nine o’clock, on the dot, he enters the stage and picks up his guitar.
Unlike on his records, Fullbright’s live performance is solo with his cithara and his harmonica, but despite the vast stage he never looks alone or out of place. He fills the space with his strong presence and incredible story-telling. In When You Were Gone he tells a heartbreaking tale of a lost lover, and there is not a single person in the hall who is not touched. You can feel the pain he went through and the tragedy of losing someone you cannot be without.
Fullbright traverses an array on tracks from his both albums: Happy, about the mood you put yourself in when writing music, bluesy Satan & St Paul and All the Time in the World with a harmonica solo. When he sits down by the piano and plays us High Roads, another beautiful story unravels, told just as beautifully. The singer’s recorded material does not do justice to how captivating his performance is live. When he sings, you listen carefully.
The highlight of the night is when Fullbright, still sat by the piano, pulls off Gawd Above and raises the roof. The song is by far the rockiest of the show, and in contrast with the many ballads it gets the seated crowd started. Two people even rise from their chairs to dance along. Finishing off the song in grand style, Fullbright fully deserves the standing ovations he receives. This guy shows great variety and an ability to both move the audience and get them dancing. What more can you ask?
Photos: Melissa Harper
For further information and future events visit John Fullbright’s website here.
Watch the video for Gawd Above here: