LIVE REVIEW: Ward Thomas @ O2 Academy – Bristol

Tonight, British record makers Ward Thomas brought their infectious blend of homegrown Country-Pop to the city of Bristol as part of their huge Restless Minds tour of the UK in support of their top-ten all genre third studio album Restless Minds.

The night kicked off with fellow Brits The Wandering Hearts giving a stellar live set with their massive hits ‘Fire and Water’ , ‘Rattle’, ‘Devil’ and the sublime ‘Til The Day I Die’. The Bristol crowd were also treated to a brand new track premiere in the form of ‘Safe Love’ which showcased their newly formed harmonious sound as a trio.

Overall the Country-Americana band highlighted their impressively produced and written songs which had the crowd singing and dancing along. They left the stage to huge cheers and with many new fans.

After a short interval it was time for the main event and the slick stage setting of mirrors elevated the show to new heights and showcased the duo’s wonderful growth from when I first saw them live back in 2016.

Gone are the simple lighting and indie vibes and instead they have an arena ready setting thanks to the impressive lighting and overall mirrored vibe of the staging.

The twins arrived on stage to rapturous applause after a thumping band solo from Gabe, Billy, Dave and Huw. Opening with their massive hit ‘Lie Like Me’ and went on to perform a breathtaking nonstop opening rattling off the Restless Minds tracklist performing ‘Same Love’, ‘It’s Not Just Me’, ‘Ain’t That Easy,  and’ Hopeless’.

They then drove the show into high gear with the impressive sing-A-long of ‘I Believe In You’ which included a crowd competition for “You’re on you’re way, yeah you’re’ and was a real highlight of a packed set which also included breatakingly stripped back moments for ‘Little Girl Sorrow’ which despite its dark subject matter and poignant lyrics had the audience laughing as in their own words they “f**ked” it up when Catherine jumped to the end of the track in the middle which she claims she would have gotten away with if Lizzy hadn’t had laughed.

The acoustic moments also gave the gig a new depth and allowed Ward Thomas’ outstanding, and mesmerising vocal harmonies to be given new life as they sat on mirrored stools on their own to perform gorgeous renditions of ‘Deepest You’, and ‘No Fooling Me’ with just their guitars.

The new slicker, faster moving set also saw the girls leaving the stage for a few interludes which allowed the set list to breathe and also gave way for the band to have their moment in the spotlight.

Along with performing 14 of the 15 tracks off their latest LP the twins also made way for a few songs off their record making number 1 album ‘Cartwheels’ with a barnstorming, hand clapping performance of ‘Guilty Flowers’ and also an intimate, up close and personal rendition of the title track.

Their debut ‘From Where We Stand’ also got dusted off for a three-song medley of ‘Good and The Right, ‘Town Called Ugley, and’ Push For The Stride’. This old school showcase brought the audience on a journey and gave new life to the newest set list.

One of the many highlights of the concert included a gorgeous showcase of the Restless Minds album including the girls’ current “favourite” ‘One More Goodbye’, the rousing, ‘ Ain’t That Easy’ and the anthemic stadium ready ‘Rather Be Breathing’ accompanied by whistle riff and side-to-side dancing from the twins.

The night ended with foot stamping, and hand clapping for ‘Never Know’, before the Hampshire twins left to huge cheers and cries of more. They then returned for a two song encore of their smash ‘Carry You Home’ which had the capacity crowd in full voice which Lizzy claimed made them the first city to perform the whole song so far during this run of dates.

They closed out the night with the LP closer ‘This Too Will Pass’. This was the moment that shined a light on the stunning vocals of the girls and you could have heard a pin drop as the audience soaked up their breathtaking voices.

Overall the Restless Minds tour brings Ward Thomas into new territory with a sick vibe and modern stage setting. It has a barnstorming set list filled with sing-A-long anthems along with stripped back showcases which allows the gig to never get stuck on one setting.

The girls have come so far in such a short space of time and this tour is highlighting their incredible growth. They have so much confidence on stage and interact easily with the crowd bringing everyone into to their world on stage, making it feel like you’re the only ones there in a room of thousands.

It’s an impressive showcase from Ward Thomas and a show like nothing they’ve done before. 

Tickets for the Restless Minds tour are on sale now!  

RATING 5/5

 

Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces. Portfolio: lauraklonowski.com Twitter: @cherylssoldier1 Instagram: @musicandtournews Email: lauraklon14@gmail.com

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