Live Reviews

The Shires supporting Striking Matches at The Borderline London UK

The Shires kick off one of Londons finest nights in Country Music


Saturday, 28 June 2014

On Monday, June 23rd 2014 Striking Matches and The Shires took the stage at London’s Borderline.

When Striking Matches tickets first went on sale of course I snapped those tickets up right away, though it wasn’t that easy as it showed as sold out in the first minute. Luckily, we kept trying until we got hold of some. Later on it was announced that The Shires were supporting which I was very excited about, being a big fan of both artists it seemed almost unreal to have both playing together under the same roof and for such a small amount of money. I first assumed they were supporting for both dates so was happy that I already had tickets but then found out it was only the first night so we quickly purchased tickets for the 23rd too.

On the day of the 23rd it was a mad rush to get ready and to get going, as again as I do not live in London. It was hard to concentrate at work when I knew we had a great night ahead of us. Sadly, I had to get up at 5am that morning as my Husband needed my car and he starts work at 7am so I was walking around the streets of Gloucester until I started work at 8.30. Luckily I had Striking Matches and The Shires on my Ipod to keep me entertained and in the mood.

From past experiences I had this fear that the queue would be manic so I planned to get there at 5.30pm to meet a friend and queue together. We drove around for what seemed like forever to get a parking spot, we actually drove past The Shires as they were walking around near the venue. When we eventually found a parking spot a zillion miles away we got to the venue luckily though, only two people were in the queue.

My friend was already excited as before I got there he said Sam Palladio walked past but he didn’t speak to him. We were queuing for probably an hour when Ben and Crissie (The Shires) arrived. They immediately spotted me and said Hello, which was really nice but me being me got all quiet and as usual did not know what to say which is surprising as I don’t shut up normally, I will also put it down to a bit of exhaustion so I hope I do not come across as uninterested because its not the case at all, its Zombie mode Hannah trying to function as a human.

I had never been to The Borderline before so did not know how big or small the venue would be. When we got in, being the oldies that we were, we grabbed two of the five seats that were there as the rest was standing. I also have bad knees so this was a bonus.

Once everyone got in the atmosphere was getting really good and there were loads of familiar faces which was nice.

The Shires then came on to the stage and everyone applauded.

I had seen The Shires previously at their Sounds Like Nashville Showcase, so already knew we were in for a good show. I was especially excited as knew we would hear more songs as they only got to do four at the Showcase.

They quickly introduced themselves and I think Crissie said it was their first Proper London gig until Ben mentioned, “erm the O2” which of course is a massive deal and was quite funny that for that second she forgot about it. They thanked Striking Matches for having them on their show and how they met them when they went to Nashville and got to go backstage at The Opry and see their set and how Sam Palladio showed them around etc.

Then they started their set. They started with their song Brave. If you haven’t heard it, then do it now as its really beautiful. The borderline is a really intimate venue and everyone went quiet and the audience were listening intently. I cannot even explain Crissie’s vocals, not sure where to start but perfection is one way to describe it and I think she could probably sing anything. Ben of course also has equally great vocals and I don’t think their voices belong with anyone else other than each other. Brave is a really good example of how well Ben and Crissies voices go together and its one of those songs that you just completely pay attention to and feel the music if that makes sense? It might just be me but then I am one of those people that won’t make a loud whoop at a concert or scream but instead just sit there and take it all in and totally get the feel of every sound and vocal.

The rest of the show was not only brilliant but also entertaining. Not only do Ben and Crissie have great stage presence but are also really very funny and know how to interact with the crowd and get their attention. I really enjoyed the song Made In England and I know I was not alone here. Everyone laughed in the right places at the lyrics. For me at that moment it was the perfect song as had just come back from Nashville and finding something like a cup of tea was hard work and was the one thing I worshipped once I got back to the UK and as much as I Love America, no where does Fish and Chips quite like the UK and we all really do enjoy Fish and Chips on a Friday night as mentioned in the lyrics.

When they played Nashville Grey Skies nearly everybody sang along to it. It was really nice to see and hear that and I felt proud of them. That song has meant a lot to me in the past few months and its great to see it grow and see the impact it has on others.

They also covered the song Young Hearts Run Free in a beautifully acoustic version, I liked the song before purely because of Baz Luhrmans Romeo and Juliet but think I preferred this version.

The last song was called Tonight. I now know it will be the next single, which I had hoped for and also guessed and I am almost always spot on with these things šŸ™‚ Like they did at the Showcase, they split the Audience for the two parts where Ben’s half sing the whoa part and Crissies singing “Your mine, I’m yours”. My friend and |I were on Crissie’s side this time and we sang our little hearts out as we needed to get our side winning. We totally did win of course, like we did at the showcase when we were on Bens side ha.

I wish they could have played for longer but they are having their own tour soon so I will be there for that and cannot wait to see a full set and their own headline show. For whoever was not a fan/unaware of The Shires at that point, definitely are fans now, I mean what’s not to love? Greatly written music, flawless live performance with beautiful vocals and excellent Guitar playing and two of the nicest, down to earth people within the music industry.

I have high hopes for The Shires and cannot think of two people who deserve success more, they have worked so hard and are that good and I really cannot wait for their album to be released.


I am also so grateful for them sticking around after the show and chatting for so long. I felt bad as my husband was waiting outside so I had to say goodbye, only to discover he went to get the car so my friend and I came back in and I was worried it looked like I lied about it and snuck back in but then I do overthink EVERYTHING. I also managed to get (Ahem steal) a Borderline Poster of that night which Ben and Crissie kindly signed, it looks beautiful in its shiny new frame.

I look forward to seeing them in Birmingham 30th July and hopefully in Milton Keynes too. I definitely want to try to do more than one show.

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