March 17th 2015
For those who aren’t familiar with Ward Thomas, I recommend getting familiar. A talented twin sister vocal duo from Hampshire, UK, these girls have it all. They can sing, they play guitar, they write all their own songs, and great ones at that, and they are amazing live. Anyone who thought the UK couldn’t possibly produce great Country Music would soon eat their words after hearing just one of their songs.
Last night was the first night of Ward Thomas’ first Headline Tour. Coming literally days after Country 2 Country Festival, those of us who were having Live Country Music withdrawal symptoms were eager to get back into the atmosphere we craved.
Having seen Ward Thomas live before, I knew I would not be disappointed, even though I had yet to see a full show. The first night was at a venue called The Fleece in Bristol. On arrival at the venue you had to look twice as it is like a warehouse attached to the back of a much hidden pub not in the centre of Bristol. A hidden Gem? I wouldn’t go that far but I liked it. Inside it was a dark and typical venue for gigs from underground to known artists with band posters scattering the walls and feet sticking to the floor, bringing back memories from places I loved going to when I was a teen. Odd how such a dive of a venue can relate to so many people in this way.
The room started to fill up as the support acts were on and, I have to admit, I liked the fact that Ward Thomas reach a more mature audience and there would be no screams or banners tonight, phew!
Arriving on stage the girls started with the intro of Pistol Annies Run Daddy Run which in turn goes straight into Way Back When. The latter is a great song about a discussion they had with their parents about what it was like when they were their age.
The thing that is great about a Ward Thomas gig is the fact you just feel so at ease. These girls make me laugh so much, I don’t think that’s their intention but their natural charm on stage and general goofiness (in a good way) just makes me giggle. In between songs they try to explain things, sometimes rather badly, sometimes accidentally talking over each other and sometimes just laughing at each other. Catherine often says things to Lizzy such as, well you just ruined my joke but I will tell it anyway. As well as randomly shouting ‘I’ve been told to say that we’ve sold no cds’. As no-one was manning the merch table this was hardly surprising. Not sure if they knew that.
Catherine and Lizzy have such big, likeable, personalities that it makes the show that much more enjoyable and you can’t help but feel in a way that you know them personally.
The harmonies Catherine and Lizzy produce are stunning and flawless, and they make it look so easy. I find it astounding how such young girls are able to write such great songs way beyond their years.
The set list below is in no particular order, as I have failed to remember it accurately, was:
Run Daddy Run/Way Back When
The Good and The Right
Man in The Mirror – Michael Jackson Cover – a great country style arrangement, really different from the original, I love it. This is featured on their Deluxe version of From Where We Stand and The Sound Of The Eighties Cd
Who We Are
Take That Train
Push From The Stride
Take Me To Church – Hozier cover – I am probably one of very few people who isn’t fussed over this song generally but I LOVE Ward Thomas’ version. Catherine’s vocals on this are really beautiful and show a range in her that I didn’t know she had. I really hope they release it in some form.
A Town Called Ugley
Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond cover – This was their encore.
It was nice to see a crowd so absorbed and hey! even my husband was singing along to every song and that never happens.
After the set, the girls went to meet fans at the merch table where they ended up selling a LOT of cds, yay! Catherine was the first one to arrive to an already big queue and having no clue how much cds were and just said ‘a tenner? I’m going to go with a tenner’ and then panicked over the disappearance of Lizzy as, of course, everyone wanted their cds signed. I myself was concerned about how Lizzy would get through the ever growing crowd and was half expecting her to crowd surf, I mean wouldn’t that have been one hell of an entrance?
Once I got my items signed I started to eye up a venue poster. I seem to have a reputation for this but they are such nice mementos. However, instead of sneakily taking it this time, I actually asked a bouncer if I could have it, to which he was more than happy to do so and even removed all the blu tac for me. Of course, once I had the poster, it was only right to get it signed so I shamefully went up again. I was a little worried the girls would think ‘Oh god, not you again’ but they happily signed it.
From getting the crowd to join in on songs such as Push For The Stride, A Town Called Ugley and Sweet Caroline, and telling us stories of teaching the support act Jessica Ridley to knit and to great songs, beautifully performed, the night was a major success and thoroughly entertaining. If I had unlimited funds and a chauffeur I would go to every stop on this tour. This is a band that you must see if you can and I certainly recommend going on You Tube to watch some live performances. I find myself doing this a lot lately!
The Tour Continues through March to the beginning of April and you can get tickets here:
Also you can purchase a copy if their Deluxe album here: