Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017

Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017Aston Merrygold + Jack Vandevelde @ o2 Institute, 4th May, 2017

Aston Merrygold

He was once one of the humble members of JLS, now the multitalented Aston Merrygold has swapped being in the coolest band the X Factor has ever created to going solo, and that lands him from previous Arena tours to the 02 Institute here in Birmingham. All the members of JLS use their status for good and Aston (a predecessor to 1D and boy bands alike) has decided to create the incredible “Precious EP” and showcase it here tonight in Birmingham.

Aston MerrygoldThere were one or two Americans in the house tonight and fresh from performing at the Whitehouse for the Easter Egg Roll (Donald Trump obviously doesn’t bother him) the opening act was Jack Vandervelde with his blue 6 string guitar and loop pedal. This was acoustic felicity for the Sheerios in the house. (Ed Sheeran fans.) The set was varied and went from original to mix up, “Trouble” had a great pop rock chorus and The Weeknd, Drake and The Chainsmokers were conscientious. We went all the way from the backseat of your rover to a cover of John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Roads. The songs were mostly about girls and fast cars but that’s what generation Z can relate to, I’m sure Jack will continue chasing the American Dream.

Aston MerrygoldJust after the foot stomping had begun, Aston’s hype man came on to announce that Aston had hurt his foot in the soundcheck and wouldn’t be coming out. After a very short prevail from the crowd, two nifty backing dancers pirouetted onto the stage with Aston Merrygold in the middle. And it was straight into “The Favourite.” Aston found his groove straightaway, with the alluring choreography and onstage chemistry. “The Favourite” even had a Michael Jackson “Dangerous” feel about it, but the groovy drum beat and “Rock Ya Body” style chorus set it apart and shows The Capital Radio Star is changing the rules.

Aston MerrygoldAfter an interval in the music, Aston told us about what he gets up to on the tour bus, and it manifests that he watches Grey’s Anatomy. This then launched Aston into “Trudy” which could be a real test of vocal ability but Aston made it look easy and instead showcased his James Brown like showmanship with his engaging dancing back and forth to the rhythm. “American Girls” a song from 2015 was followed by the infectious “Precious” a song written for a wedding which introduced the next American Shy Carter to the stage. A song about what’s really important in life and one which you could tell was important to Aston. Which you could see when the crowd sometimes struggled to remember the right words to sing back, Aston seemed downhearted.

 

Aston MerrygoldThe soulful “When A Woman Breaks A Man’s Heart” sounded as profound as Bruno Mar’s “Grenade” as they both talk about feelings towards the opposite sex. We were also treated to a stripped down JLS Melody with a piano backing track with Aston singing “Beat Again” “Eyes Wide Shut” and “Everybody in Love.” Even with all the hype behind Aston a few covers were put in the set “Hotline Bling” was catchy and when Aston changed his pink blazer to gold it was time for “Get On Up” James Brown which led to some epic backflips by Aston to JT and Beyonce.

Aston MerrygoldTo cool things down, there was a very gospel version of “Human Nature” followed by the voulez vous coucher “One Night In Paris.” With its funky guitar riffs, this sent some people to Valhalla in the audience. The temperature had seriously been upped. The epic dance routines on such a small stage were impressive, (Bear Grylls Survivor must’ve got Aston into shape.) Just like Kate Garroway’s reaction on GMB, tonight’s rendition of “Get Stupid” finished the show in style and sent shockwaves through the crowd.

A thoroughly well thought out set, Aston Merrygold tonight showcased what a talented entertainer he still is.

 

Reviewer: John Kirby

Photographer: Chris Bowley

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