30th May 2019
Review & Photography by Ryan Whitwell / shotison.com
Eagle-Eye Cherry returned to London after a 20 year gap to play to a packed out Islington Academy. Tonight he and his band would be joined by Wake Up Leo.
Wake Up Leo’s indie rock stylings started strong, opening with ‘Nowhere To Go’ followed by ‘Cellophane’. The set had a nice mix of tempos and vibes with numbers like ‘It Always Makes Me Wonder’ offering a bit of a harder hitting rock tone and ‘Lost in Time’ starting off gentle, but bringing a nice increase in energy resulting in a pretty epic sounding finale to the song. Really enjoyed that one.
The five-piece had a fun energy about them, which put me in mind of the likes of Pigeon Detectives or Kaiser Chiefs. I liked the additions from the keys, with a few pads and synth tones and the rhythms of numbers like ‘Poison Tongue’ had a good bounce to them as well.
Short and sweet introductions from the front man, like before ‘Moves Like a Stripper’, added to the casual fun tone the band had. Bit of a funky rhythm to that one as well.
There was a bit of crowd participation during the last number, with some unprompted clapping, which was a pretty good indication of how much fun these guys were and how much the people who turned up early were enjoying them.
Even before Eagle-Eye Cherry walked out there were huge cheers for the band, as they played a bit of an intro before the main man stepped out for ‘Been Here’, at which point the cheers started again.
I haven’t been keeping up with Eagle-Eye’s music much over the past couple of decades, so it was cool to hear numbers that I didn’t recognise alongside the debut album tracks like ‘Falling in Love’. ‘Together’ was cool as anything with a smooth bluesy tone. Complete with an extended guitar solo as the bassist and guitarist had a bit of a collaborative duel centre stage as Cherry stepped back and enjoyed the show for a minute.
The whole set was filled with a good mix of old and new and had a great rhythm throughout, I genuinley enjoyed the numbers from his latest album, including the title track, Streets of You. ‘Remember to Breathe’ slowed the roll for a few minutes with a gentle love song. That warmth of the electric organ sound from the keys was a nice accent every time it came through in this number and was a nice moment in the set, offering something different to mix things up a bit before getting back to the more upbeat stuff.
There was a slice of New Jersey with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Atlantic City’. Daniel on keys getting a starring roll with that great piano riff and was a great version with a bit of meat in the guitar tone.
Daniel on keys took on acoustic guitar duties for ‘Crashing Down’. Another chilled number with a bit of muscle in the chorus.
Unfortunately, sister Ninah who Eagle-Eye Cherry recorded his second album with, was off doing a show in Barcelona tonight, but ‘Long Way Round’ was still an enjoyable track none the less with a nice summer vibe to it.
Throughout the set there was plenty of bouncing in the crowd, hands up, singing along. Of course, there was a song that hadn’t been played yet, and the cheers for an encore (even though the band only stepped off for a minute) were impressive.
The rest of the band began with a nice crunchy bit of bluesy slide of ‘One Good Reason’ before Eagle-Eye stepped back on stage to rapturous applause. Another number where people were getting their vocal chords a workout. The stripped back sound gave drummer Nicholas a bit more prominence too, with a really sweet beat.
Obviously, there was one number yet to be played. Phones, hands and voices were raised as that most famous Eagle-Eye Cherry song, ‘Save Tonight’, bellowed from the PA and amps. Of course, the crowd were more than happy to oblige when asked to take over singing duties for the chorus. Great atmosphere, and the cheers and applause after that number as the extended outro rang out were a great indicator as to how much the fans loved this one.