hmv.com reviews… Charlie Simpson @ London’s Roundhouse
Charlie Simpson played the biggest gig of his career last night (October 14th) and we were there to take it all in. Here’s our full review…
Charles Simpson, once a member of Busted, still a member of Fightstar, now a bona fide solo artist, supporting his second solo album Long Road Home (which you can preview on the right of the page).
London’s Roundhouse, equidistant between Camden and Chalk Farm.
Was it full? And how were the crowd?
It was packed out, with only a few spare seats left upstairs. The crowd were everything Simpson, who spoke repeatedly about how much this show meant to him, would have wanted. They danced when he asked them to and stood and appreciated when that was required, which was most of the set.
So what was the set like? What did he play?
Given he’s only got two albums, Simpson didn’t have to leave too much out of his set, especially as he didn’t dip into any Fightstar material (Busted was never going to be on the cards…).
Kicking off with ‘Long Road Home’, the opener from his new album of the same name, he split the set evenly between newer, more freewheeling cuts like ‘Comets’ and Haunted’, which have a country, mid-period Ryan Adams tinge, and earlier tracks, like ‘Parachutes’ and ‘Down Down Down’, which are slower and gentler, more like classic Bright Eyes.
He did cut loose a few times too, even throwing in a cover of Mack Rice’s Mustang Sally’ and ending his first set with a rocked up version of ‘Farmer And His Gun’.
He started the encore, bizarrely enough, in the middle of the crowd, performing ‘Emily’, before heading back to the stage to end the show with ‘The Riverbanks’, which came down in an almighty crescendo.
Any good between song banter?
This wasn’t really a night for banter, more a night full of ‘Thank Yous’ and platitudes. Simpson was clearly overwhelmed to have filled the Roundhouse, which is a little odd, given he’s sold out multiple nights at Wembley Arena in his early career, perhaps this feels a little more real, who knows?
Did he put on much of a show?
Some lovely big lights, but nothing more. It wouldn’t have suited the occasion either.
What was the highlight of the set?
It came at the start of the encore when Simpson suddenly appeared in the middle of the crowd to perform ‘Emily’ on his own. No idea how he pulled it off, he just suddenly appeared, it was great though.
Where can I catch him next?
He’s just announced a new batch of solo dates for next February. You can find more details here.