C2C Social featuring High Valley at Bush Hall

After the success of the first C2C Social with Lucie Silvas in September last year (you can read my review of that here), two more shows were announced hot on its heels. Sadly I couldn't make it to the December event with Ward Thomas - although I was lucky enough to get tickets to their tour this spring so more on that soon! - but I did manage to snap up a ticket to the first C2C Social of 2017, featuring Canadian country duo High Valley.


Hot on the heels of their major label debut album, Dear Life, and current single 'Make You Mine' which is climbing the US country charts, show day finally rolled around on Saturday and I set off out into the freezing cold and snowy February night to Bush Hall in West London. The length of the queue outside even when I got there at 7.40pm is proof (if it were needed) that country fans are a hardcore bunch!


I've never been to Bush Hall before so was pleasantly surprised to see how lovely it is inside - all chandeliers and plaster cherubs on the wall. According to the bloke stood behind me whilst we were waiting for the show to start, it had been a dance hall in the Victorian era before falling into disrepair and has since been restored to its former glory. Other high points: relatively cheap beer (by London music venue standards anyway) and pleasantly warm after being outside - although that did mean it was ridiculously hot later on, but still...


The support act was American Young, who I've heard bits of on Spotify but had never seen live before. Armed with just an acoustic guitar and a violin, they took to the stage and held the audience absolutely mesmerised for 45 minutes. Standout tracks for me were the catchy 'Point Of View', 'Love Is War', 'The Soldier's Wife' and the haunting 'God Sends A Train'. I loved the storytelling element to their lyrics and their strong partnership shone through on stage too.
 


Finally it was time for High Valley, who came on stage to an absolutely rapturous reception. They kicked off with 'I Be U Be', a song from their album which is pretty typical of their sound - stomping beats, twangy guitars and singalong choruses. This was the tone of much of the set, largely taken from Dear Life, which they swept through at an almost breakneck pace, interspersed with them chatting to their audience about the history behind their songs. In particular it was great to hear album favourites like 'She's With Me', 'I Ain't Changin'' and 'Young Forever' sung at full volume by possibly the most enthusiastic audience I've heard at a country gig.




However, the brothers Rempel were also keen to show us they aren't one-trick ponies, with slower songs like 'The Only' and 'The Only Way He Knew How', a lovely tribute to their taciturn dad (which I'm not ashamed to admit made me cry). They also threw in a couple of covers, most noticeably John Michael Montgomery's 'Be My Baby Tonight' which led to an impromptu dance competition! Throughout the show they kept the audience's energy up, encouraging everyone to clap along and sing (not that they needed much help to be honest...) and it was great to see how much they were enjoying themselves.




The boys finished their set with 'Make You Mine', which got everyone stamping and hollering at the tops of their voices, before taking their bows and leaving the stage. However, the crowd clearly didn't want them to leave and spent a good few minutes singing the 'whoa-oh-oh' line from 'Make You Mine' to summon them back on. They returned to play 'Dear Life' for the encore, finishing on a brilliant high and leaving everyone wanting more.





Overall I had an amazing time at High Valley's live show and can't wait for them to come back to the UK. They delivered a really brilliant, uptempo, fun performance and their energy was infectious. Plus I got *this* close to catching Curtis' (the one with the beard) guitar pick but wasn't quick enough getting it off the floor. Oh well, you can't have everything...

2 comments:

  1. I haven't heard of the musicians before but I love the looks of the venue! x

    www.rhymeandribbons.com

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    1. It's an absolutely lovely venue - I definitely recommend going there if you ever get the chance!

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