James Marriott at Koko
Brighton-based YouTube sensation James Marriott debuted his alternative rock career in 2020, and has not looked back since; the transition from social media star to musician may be a difficult feat, but Marriott has made the switch seamlessly. His breakthrough single Slow Down eased him into the scene, and three years later, his first album, Are We There Yet? has received plenty of recognition from his YouTube following and new fans alike. To ring in the new year, Marriott has embarked on a journey across the UK; on Wednesday 31st January, he sold out KOKO London in Camden.
At approximately 8.45pm, the venue was buzzing with anticipation. The young fans were restless in moving to find the best view of the stage. At exactly 9pm, the lights went dim, and the screams of the now tightly knit crowd consumed the three-story building. As soon as Marriott took his first step on stage, the screams grew much more intense. With the energy high, the band began the set with Over My Head. Although only the first song of the night, fans moshed to the upbeat, playful track; James Marriott fans are a force to be reckoned with. Next is the beloved track Him, and the audience had springs in their feet; when Marriott yells “Jump!”, everybody follows suit. Hundreds of bodies sporting James Marriott merchandise made for a colourful scene as they moved in unison to the beat.
Next was You Are Here, then So Long. Between songs, Marriott chatted with front-row fans and even recognised those in the nosebleeds, making sure that each attendee felt right at home. His YouTube comedy background came in handy tonight; between witty banter and excellent voice projection, Marriott’s stage presence is comforting. The night continues with Where Has Everyone Gone? and In Between, and although fans were instructed to turn on their phone flashlights, mosh pits still formed and dancing ensued while Marriott continued his graceful serenation. The first of many pauses for crowd control and safety occurred before Going Postal at the Party, however; attendees standing in front of the stage were making the most of the performance. Thankfully, Marriott worked with fans to ensure they were safe. This break in the set did not cause the vigorous dancing to cease.
The night followed through with The Other Side, which featured a Marriott-led twerking session to keep spirits high. Car Lights acted as a calmer, soft sing-along moment for the intense set, but the original vivacity returned with Sleeping on Trains and even White Noise despite its mellow sound. Denial is next, followed by the ever-popular Don’t Blame Me and Grapes, which electrified the atmosphere at KOKO to an unfathomable extent.
After the crowd relentlessly chanted for his 2021 single Calling, Marriott gave in and put on a strong performance despite not playing the track in years. Now satisfied, attendees helped the band reel in the set with the fan-favourite Romanticise This.
Although moshers may have made some bumps and bruises along the way, there is no doubt they went home with a smile. Marriott and his band were strong during the entire set and surely made it a night to remember. James Marriott is headed to Cardiff on 2nd February to continue their sold out UK tour.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit James Marriott’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Don’t Blame Me here: