What a journey Ward Thomas have had since we first heard them back in 2014. Twins from Hampshire Lizzie and Catherine Ward Thomas have gone from independent artists to being signed to a major label (Sony Music) in just a couple of years and have appeared at just about every major UK Festival there is. Currently promoting their Third album Restless Minds which is due out on 5th October, Ward Thomas returned to play BST Hyde Park for the third time. Each year that Ward Thomas have played they have been upgraded to a bigger stage. The first year, (where they supported Carole King), Ward Thomas were on the Summer Stage, the second year (supporting Tom Petty) we saw them upgraded to the Barclaycard Stage and finally this year (supporting Paul Simon) Ward Thomas were deservingly placed on The Great Oak Stage, which isn’t just the biggest stage at the festival but one of the biggest stages going.
Ward Thomas graced the Great Oak stage in the afternoon and their stage was decorated with a large backdrop featuring the cover of their up and coming album Restless Minds. As someone who has supported the girls since the beginning, to see such a large portrait of them on one of the biggest ever festival stages was quite a moment, so I can’t even imagine what it felt like to them.
This was one of the best shows I have seen from them in a while – having not been the biggest fan of all the songs off of Cartwheels, I felt past performances weren’t so energetic or perhaps as entertaining as previous years when they would perform mostly songs off of From Where We Stand. This is purely personal preference though as From Where We Stand resonates with me a lot more.
Kicking off with a surprisingly down tempo yet beautiful track titled Good On You – Ward Thomas already turned heads with their flawless harmonies and their voices projected to an impressive volume across Hyde Park and it felt right to hear them on such a high level. Guilty Flowers was next which is one of the songs that I do love from Cartwheels and this song live in front of such a large capacity of people was like hearing it from a totally different perspective and in that moment made me realise not only that Catherine and Lizzie had finally arrived but that this type of stage, this setting, this audience is where they belong. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing them in an intimate setting as the girls have such a great connection with their fans and their humble and charming personalities are such a joy on stage that being up close and personal does of course give a more homely and friendly feel but they definitely deserve the wider acknowledgement.
The BST Hyde Park audience were then treated with the live premiere of new song No Filter. Clearly excited for everyone to hear it for the first time, the girls gave us a very good indication of just how great this new album Restless Minds is going to be. Another new track One More Goodbye was next and was another fantastic song and as always, Ward Thomas deliver on their harmonies on such a high level that studio recordings will never do them enough justice. Title track from last album Cartwheels followed which is a fan favourite and has been for a number of years. One of the more breathtaking and emotional songs the girls have ever written, it is hard to ever tire of this song and if you listen to the words, you will see just how talented as songwriters they both are.
Current and lead single off of the new album Lie Like Me came next and it was wonderful to hear this live for the first time. A great song about how modern society exaggerate their lives and fabricate the truth sometimes by sharing every so – called excited part of their lives alone to make them look important.
“So here’s another sunrise, here’s another good time
And here’s my outfit of the week
Here’s a great throwback, here’s the lunch I had
It seems like I’m living the dream”
Ward Thomas closed with their epic track Carry You Home from Cartwheels. A favourite amongst their friends and family as well as fans, this is always such a fun song to end the live set on. Carry You Home always sets off an energetic vibe and for some reason really does feel like a farewell song, probably due to its anthemic feel.
As ever, Ward Thomas did not disappoint, especially vocally. I feel that new album Restless Minds is going to be one heck of an album and with 15 tracks, we are bound to be in for a treat. The new material so far has shown a much stronger and more powerful edge to the girls and I look forward to hearing more of the album live soon as well of course as hearing the album in its entirety when released on October 5th.