Lewis Capaldi + Nina Nesbitt @ o2 Institute, 3rd November, 2018

On 31st of March 2017 Lewis Capaldi’s life took a dramatic shift. The self-release of his first single ‘Bruises’ on that date brought him almost instant fame amassing an insane 28 million plays on Spotify worldwide.   He found himself hopping on tour with the likes of Rag N Bone Man and Sam Smith, playing at festivals like Lollapolooza, Bonnaroo, and TRNSMT. To say it’s been an insane ride may be an understatement, but Capaldi seems to be taking it in his stride.

With an insanely beautiful, textured voice that is as deep as the ocean and as bright as the sun Capaldi delivers authentically rich songs that are both parts vulnerable and commanding. Playing to a sold out crowd at the O2 Institute, Capaldi wowed fans with his immense talent and humorous disposition, leaving us craving more Capaldi.

Enthralling singer songwriter Billy Lockett and eloquent Nina Nesbitt opened the night, a double act that both delivered standout performances. After a quick turnover distorted ABBA rang through the speakers welcoming Capaldi to the stage. Spunky muted pop rock ‘Grace’ flew through the speakers first. Clearly displaying Capaldi’s insane voice the song boomed through, filling the room with a warm but edgy sound. Capaldi’s voice is otherworldly; really words are not sufficient to explain the insanity and depth of his voice, a true gift given to very few. His voice leaves you breathless, moving you to reflect on the impossibility of its existence while also leaving you both in awe and slightly jealous of such talent.

As Capaldi grabs his guitar the chords of fan favourite ‘Mercy’ flutter in. An electronic ambience nestles around the song, filled by Capaldi and the fans that act as a choir. New tune ‘Head Space,’ a blossoming instrumental climb that climaxes with an acapela ending, brings a haunting stillness to the crowd. Captured by the sound it makes us excited to see what Capaldi releases in the future. As the stage illuminates transcendent ‘Figure it Out’ is followed by ‘Rush.’ The band saunters off stage as anthematic ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ gets an acoustic treatment. As Capaldi controls the stage with just his guitar his voice booms around the room, bringing the song to life in a chilling moment of perfection.

‘Lost on You’ finds cheers among the crowd. Uptempo ‘Hollywood’ has an acoustic pop flare, a departure from the more introspective songs the tune is a bit cheeky, a poking joke at the Hollywood scene. ‘Fade’ and ‘Tough’ round out the set, with Capaldi coming back on stage to perform massive hit ‘Bruises.’

Lewis Capaldi harnesses an otherworldly talent with humour and self-assuredness. While his voice is truly incomprehensible in magnitude, the light-hearted Scottish humour and boundless energy seem to root him to the ground, creating a demigod of talent rooted by authenticity.

While his set at the O2 Institute was short it left the crowd breathless, eager to devour more of what Capaldi will no doubt offer in the future. When will Lewis Capaldi be back in Birmingham? Well, we unfortunately do not know, but all of us will no doubt be wherever he is once he returns.

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

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