A triumphant return for Damon Gough
Zach Hughes
15:36 26th January 2020

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It’s been five years since the last London performance of Damon Gough’s Badly Drawn Boy, and eight since his last music release. Delivering a mammoth 24 song-set, consisting of a masterful solo suite followed by a knockout full band performance, it’s safe to say that it was well worth the wait. 

After a mesmerising set from support artist IORA, there’s an eager sense of anticipation reverberating around The Roundhouse. A choral wave of cheering and clapping sweeps the auditorium as Damon Gough’s silhouette steps out onto the dimly lit stage and lies upon a bed to the right, lazily flicking through a magazine.

After a short procession, Gough heads to centre stage and jokingly addresses the surreal scene, saying "don’t ask me what that was about, cos I don’t know", which is met with a boom of laughter. Accompanied by just the piano, Gough plays a captivating rendition of ‘Year of the Rat’ from his fourth album One Plus Is One, a song which he advises he only plays "once every 12 years". 

The sense of occasion is not lost on Gough, as he thanks the sold-out audience and admits "I’m [really] nervous, cos this is a legendary venue and a huge show… I might make mistakes, forgive me if I do", to which the crowd responds with more whole-hearted cheering, making it apparent that, in their eyes, he can do no wrong.

Gough possesses a masterful ability to blend his own life experiences with outstanding musical composition. This is laid bare in the first half of the set, which is a plethora of old songs and new – masterfully played across the piano, guitars and harmonica. It’s hard not to be impressed as Gough effortlessly switches from one instrument to the next, all without missing a beat.

Whilst the music is often melancholic and introverted, the spirit continues to remain high as Gough consistently gains laughs with his anecdotal musings, the highlight of which is a gag with a loop pedal that took light-hearted swipes at Ed Sheeran, George Ezra and Lewis Capaldi, much to the amused delight of the audience.   

Once joined by the full band, Gough continues to offer a trove of old and new songs, belted out with a tight-knit performance from the other band members. This is made all the more impressive when Gough explains they’d only been playing together since the start of the week. Surrounded by an adoring audience in one of London’s most iconic venues, it seemed only fitting that they offer up the live debut of their latest single ‘Is This a Dream?’. 

The set ends with a beautiful performance of ‘Silent Sigh’ from the soundtrack of About A Boy. One last gem is saved for the much-encouraged encore, as the band returns and performs ‘I Saw You Walk Away’, swiftly followed by a knockout cover of the Stone Roses ‘I Wanna Be Adored’. As they all take the centre stage and take one final bow, the audience rises from their seats and offers one last symphony of euphoric cheering and clapping, comprehensively marking a triumphant return for Damon Gough and Badly Drawn Boy.

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Photo: Alex Young