Gig Review by Rhiannen Hollyoake with Photography by Carolyn Brown

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Squeezing through a packed Brummy crowd, fresh faced James TW emerged from a very glamorous side door and hopped onto the stage ready for action at The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham. Grabbing his guitar and bursting straight into ‘Naked’ almost immediately his voice was on top form from the get go, effortlessly gliding through trills and runs with ease much to the delight of the already excited crowd.

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Declaring that this was his hometown gig, Warwickshire bred James even had his family in tow as his grandparents proudly watched from the staircase recording every moment, their eyes not leaving the stage once. Fluently moving through songs ‘Black and Blue’ and ‘Different’ he was beautifully accompanied by the soft sounds of the audience singing every word back to him, to which he thanked them for being his ‘very own personal choir’, making use of their participation to make each song sound even better.

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Covering two classics, TW took on legendary tune ‘Superstitious’ which he’d jazzed up with a funky beat, throwing in the occasional guitar tap too for good measure. Followed by Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’ which he played completely acoustic in the middle of the tightly packed crowd surrounded by a circle of adoring teenage girls all eager to get the best close up, flash and all!

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New song ‘Please Keep Loving Me’ was followed by the announcement that this would usually be his ‘last’ song in true gig tradition. But with no escape from the secluded stage James left the cheesy encore build up behind and instead went on to explain why hit track ‘When You Love Someone’ was written. To which he revealed was surprisingly to help one of his former students deal with the breakdown of his parents marriage. For such a heartfelt song it is hard to believe that the lyrics weren’t born from real life experience, but instead were actually put together in order to aid someone else through a very difficult time, and I can’t help but feel it will be doing the same for many more people going through similar circumstances in their lives too.

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Finishing his condensed set with a trio of singles ‘Sanctuary’, ‘This London Love’ and ’10k Hours’ this intimate and note perfect gig felt like a very up close and personal insight into who James TW is as an artist and showcased his raw talent in a truly magical way. With not a dry eye in the house and leaving to endless applauds I’m pretty sure this is only the beginning for this young 19 year old’s career and we will be hearing plenty more of his soulful sounds way into the new year.

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