Richard Ashcroft at London Olympia
In the face of a career filled with ups and downs, Richard Ashcroft still proves he is one of the best voices, performers and songwriters in the UK. It’s the coldest Saturday night in May that London can remember and the Wigan singer easily warms everyone with his deep vocals and seductive panache.
His latest album Natural Rebel isn’t as good as the previous one – These People – and in fact tonight the artist only plays three songs from the recent release. Beginning with Out of My Body, Sonnet and This Is How It Feels, the show starts with a bang, and it doesn’t stop. The crowd is treated to more classics and hits – Break the Night with Colour and Space and Time – before things slow down with Surprised by the Joy.
Two of the new tracks are quite good: That’s How Strong and Money Money. They are a little too derivative (see Science of Silence and Gimme Shelter, respectively) but they undoubtedly work nonetheless.
Velvet Morning is the true masterpiece of the concert: heartfelt and mesmerising, it holds the audience under a spell. It’s poetic, and a melancholy reminder of how extraordinary and solid the British music scene once was.
Other highlights include Ashcroft’s solo career debut single A Song for the Lover, Hold On and Lucky Man. The stage and light show are quite simple yet effective. The singer performs with a vintage television projected behind him, which proves quite a good fit for the vibes of the music.
An encore of three brings the night to an end. It begins with an acoustic rendition of C’Mon People (We’re Making It Now) before reaching a final high on The Drugs Don’t Work and Bitter Sweet Symphony. There’s more than a little bit of nostalgia in the air, but what’s wrong with that?
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Richard Ashcroft’s website here.
Watch the video for That’s When I Feel It here: