Upon nearing Camden's stunning Koko, it was obvious that a significant event was in the makings. Approaching the antique burgundy theatre, teens were buzzing ahead of teen pop star turned alternative frontman Charlie Simpson's sold-out headline show.
A subtle banner hangs across the stage displaying Simpson’s name and just about every girl and her boyfriend inside the venue are chanting along with the hymns of the English rocker in flickering dialogue. It is a cheerful atmosphere, but with it came the overwhelming sense that at any moment the screech of a hundred love-struck ladies – and a substantial amount of gents – might induce a sizable heart attack on their neighboring viewers.
The arrival of Charlie Simpson and his backing five-piece, as predicted, injects a shot of adrenaline into the already unstable audience. The venue burst into full voice as the anthem 'Parachutes' echoes from the stage.
If Charlie Simpson hadn’t won listeners over with his wandering falsetto on 'I Still Need A Friend', which suspiciously mirrors the melody of Bon Iver’s 'Flume' or with his fire-lit acoustic heart-grabber 'Sundown', he would have undoubtedly captured attention with his swaying hit 'Cemetery' – a well-paced proclamation filled with relationship heartache. It is a mixture of the smoky vocals and emotional cries on 'Please Let Me Go' that was reminiscent of American singer/songwriter Matt Kearney and left the audience begging for more.
Having spent the better part of a year promoting his debut solo album 'Young Pilgrim' since it’s release last April, the budding songwriter still has fans drooling and singing along to every word in the packed theater – a hat-tipping feat in this single studded era.
There was no doubt Simpson would satisfy an encore, but not many would have guessed a cover of Bon Iver’s 'Blood Bank' was in Simpson’s repertoire. The whimsical rendition remained a teenage version of the original, but it seemed like Simpson had fun with it. Despite its lackluster feel, this track was the light-hearted finish to an entertaining and cheerful night in the company of this still-rising rock-star.