Gig Review by Hayley Clark with Photography by Kris Askey and Kirsty Whitaker

John Newman

Billed as one of the hottest pop parties in Birmingham, Free Radio Live aimed to bring the hottest chart acts under one roof to the Genting arena, and 2015 was certainly no different. After 2014, Free Radio had a huge line up to follow when they brought Ed Sheeran to town however appealed to the crowd of all ages with their line-up of Sigma, Ben Haenow, Jess Glynne, Fleur East, Nathan Sykes , Years & Years, The Vamps and John Newman you couldn’t argue the fact they tried to find something for everyone.

Sigma

Sigma

Sigma

Having just released their debut album, Sigma opened Free Radio Live in a spectacular way with the drum and bass duo engaging with the crowd of all ages and whipping them into a frenzy in the first 30 minutes ready for the acts which followed. Having had a huge summer collaborating with Labrinth, Rita Ora, Paloma Faith and Ella Eyre providing the majority of the Summer soundtrack of 2015 they performance didn’t disappoint with “Nobody to love”, “Changing” and “Coming home”.

Ben Haenow

Ben Haenow

Ben Haenow

30 year old Ben Haenow from Croydon has come a long way since winning the X factor last year, performing his debut number one “Something I need” as well as his latest single “Second hand heart” he gained one of the larger cheers of the first half of the show. The cheeky cockney interacted with the crowd and ensured they knew his debut album was released two weeks prior and how it would make the perfect Christmas present for any relative.

Sam and Mark

Sam and Mark

Free radio hosts Sam and Mark kept the night flowing with Mark taking over the camera duties and joking about how his camera skills were awful, they seemed to ignore the heckler next to me who quipped “Not as bad as his singing” in jest, as well as playing the usual crowd pleasers “Black Magic” from Little Mix and Taylor Swifts’ “Shake It Off” which seemed to be on a loop through the night with the odd One Direction hit teasing the crowd on the huge screens to the side of the stage.

Years & Years

Years & Years

Years & Years

Years & Years broke onto the scene this year with “King” hitting the club scene, even though this was the bands sixth record it has propelled them into recognition having won MTVs best new artist video and being nominated for the BBC music awards best British artist, they are definitely a band that we will be hearing more of in 2016.

Jess Glynne

Jess Glynne

Jess Glynne

Jess Glynne closed the first half, after a phenomenal year and a triumphant return to Birmingham after earlier playing Birmingham Pride and the 02 academy this year, Jess sang her heart out with “Don’t be so hard on yourself ”, “Real Love” and hers and Clean Bandits hit “Rather Be” and had the crowd of all ages bopping along.

The Vamps

The Vamps

The Vamps

The Vamps opened the second half spectacularly with one of their newer songs “Wake Up” as the younger members of the audience cried out screaming as if One Direction had just came on stage as surprise guests. Not only can the Vamps sing but they play their own instruments, making them appeal to all ages, lead singer Brad, who hails from Sutton Coldfield, took this opportunity to gain extra “Vampettes”, as their fan base is known, plugging there recently announced March gigs as homecoming with special offers on tickets. They left the crowd wanting more as they kicked off their duet with Demi Lovato “Somebody like you” and debut smash “Can we dance” encouraging crowd participation in a performance which was worthy of a headline slot.

Nathan Sykes

Nathan Sykes

Nathan Sykes

Ex wanted frontman Nathan Sykes continued with the boy band vibe, performing “Kiss me quick“ as the girls screamed in adoration for him and then X Factor runner up Fleur East brought the funk with “Uptown funk” and latest hit “Sax”, she knew how to get the crowd rocking in a high energy performance with her dancers. WESTRN appeared as the surprise act for the night appealing to the younger members of the crowd with their debut hit “In2” before leaving the proceedings to the headline act John Newman to close Free Radio 2015, performing a medley of hits including “Feel the love”, “come and get it” and hit “love me again” leaving the crowd ready for what Free Radio 2016 has to bring.

Fleur East

Fleur East

Fleur East

John Newman

John Newman

John Newman

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