Tender and tongue-in-cheek despite a sore voice
Malvika Padin
13:45 2nd December 2019

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Glaswegian singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi proves why he’s deserving of the stardom that he’s achieved this past year, entertaining crowds at O2 Brixton Academy in spite of losing his voice.

Having started his 2019 with BRITs Critics’ Choice and ending it with Grammy nomination, the indie-pop sensation returns to the UK on tour seemingly unchanged, remaining the unfiltered everyman the world has come to love; he’s as tongue-in-cheek with his humour and his music is as tender. 

The 23-year-old breakout star pulls the 5000-strong crowd into his world as soon as he enters the stage, harkening to the past with his debut single ‘Grace’ and early-career release ‘Fade' before veering into popular tracks such as ‘Bruises’ and ‘Hold Me While You Wait’ from his debut album Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent – after which the tour is named - as well as giving us a possible hint of what’s to come in the future. 

Known for emotive ballads, there are moments such as the recently released ‘Before You Go’ that inspire a mass sing-along. Alongside the natural comedy that Capaldi injects throughout the pauses of his set, such moments successfully break up the fog of feelings that settle over the crowds for most of the show. 

Capaldi's showmanship shines bright as he manages to make it through eleven tracks despite his failing voice, and it’s an unsurprising coincidence that his genuine dedication and stubborn resolve to do his best is showcased the day after he was named “the hardest working artist in music" by an ICMP study.  

Managing to keep his audiences enthralled with his talent in spite of vocal trouble, he makes it up till ‘Hold Me While You Wait’ before handing over the reins completely to his loving fans for the big one of the night, the track that catapulted him into everyone’s favourite pop star, ‘Someone You Love’.

Telling his fans "this last song you are going to have to take the lion’s share of" he launches into his signature song, his struggling voice dutifully carried by the chorusing crowds. Powering through as much as he could in what he later describes as "one of the hardest performances” he’s ever had to do - and cancelling the remaining three dates of the tour to avoid serious damage - Lewis displays not only his professionalism by working through a vocal injury but also proves his ability to rock a show even with a hoarse voice, and not much singing.

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Photo: Isy Townsend