Live Review / Saint Raymond @ O2 Institute (21.11.15)

It’s been a busy year for Saint Raymond (real name Callum Burrows). Releasing his debut album Young Blood, playing a ton of festival shows and ending 2015 with his largest headline tour to date, it’s been nothing short of a success. This was his second time playing the Institute this year, on this occasion playing the main room. The size of the crowd waiting for him to arrive on stage was an illustration of just how vast his fanbase is becoming, rapidly so.

Jumping on stage with his band to a wonderful light show as a backdrop, immediately the fans were in a frenzy, singing along to opener ‘Letting Go’ as if they were chanting at a football match. Album tracks ‘Be There’ and single ‘Everything She Wants’ followed this, and the reaction to these cuts struck me immediately. It’s clear that Burrows’ music connects to people on more than one level; his choruses are anthemic and powerful, transporting the listener to a summer festival regardless of where they may be.

The thing I have to admire about Saint Raymond is his stage presence; despite several of his songs being fairly similar in sound, his performance of each of them gives them a uniqueness that can only be found when in a live setting. Cuts from Young Blood such as popular ‘I Want You’ felt like they’d gained a new energy, and injecting his cover of Major Lazer’s hit summer track ‘Lean On’ and new song ‘We Are Fire’ into the middle of his set kept things fresh and majorly current. When watching Burrows, it doesn’t feel like you’re watching a musician on stage, but more your friend up there with his guitar, just chatting to the crowd and having a great time – this is what makes him such an endearing performer.
Highlights of this particular show were most definitely the ballads. Tearjerker ‘As We Are Now’ was performed beautifully, with the audience being briefly silent as he then introduced support act Shannon Saunders on stage to duet on ‘Movie on My Mind’. Explaining to the crowd that they’d written and recorded the track together for his debut album, the performance following this was mesmerising. The harmonies were impeccable and each note was executed with such simplicity; it was impossible to tear yourself away from what was happening in front of you.

Saint Raymond’s live show in one word is punchy. The 1975-style track ‘Wild Heart’, the summery ‘Never Let You Go’ and set closer ‘Fall At Your Feet’ were all wonderful highpoints and its refreshing to be able to go to a show that isn’t full of songs that people ‘mosh’ to; being able to have a drink and a dance was refreshing, and made me feel like I was in a small festival tent rather than a dark, sweaty room in the middle of November. Saint Raymond’s only just beginning to shine, and I’m sure that he’ll be transcending higher heights in no time at all.

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[Originally written for Redbrick Music]

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