Review by Becky Weaver with Photography by Nikki Rodgers

It’s 5.30pm and a small crowd has hurried into a corner of Birmingham’s HMV store. The reason? To catch glimpse of one of the country’s rising stars Ten Tonnes.

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Ethan Barnett goes by the stage name of Ten Tonnes and was last in the city to support his older brother, chart-topping BRIT Award-winner, George Ezra.

But remove his older brother from the equation and you’ll see that this 21-year-old is far from hiding in his brother’s shadow; his intimate in-store acoustic set quickly followed by a sold-out show at the O2 Institute were solid proof of that Barnett’s one of the latest British male solo artists to crop up over the last year. Alongside Sam Fender, the pair taking are classic indie beats, catchy lyrics and blending scratchy chords to create some seriously good music.

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Before taking to the stage of the first gig of his headline tour, the crowd were well and truly warmed up by support act Only the Poets, who are also returning to the city this October for their very own shows.

The last time Barnett was in the city he was supporting his older brother, but now he’s back with a stunning debut album filled to the brim with of fantastic indie tracks that are being played across major stations including BBC Radio One and Two alike. His debut may have only been out for a matter of days, but it’s already clocked up more than 10 million streams – and counting.

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Although he may be in the early stages of his career, Barnett’s already well on his way to gaining an extremely strong fan base. Taking to the stage with a huge grin on his face – which remained solidly in place for the remainder of his hour-long set – Barnett opened with the energetic Born to Lose, following up with Cracks Between and a superb set list that felt more like a strong back catalogue, rather than material from a debut album.

Each track packs a punch and displays Barnett’s talents of fantastic songwriting, especially in slower jams Silver Heat and Love Me to Death. And having worked on his debut alongside a former member of the Maccabees, Hugo Wright and Kaiser Chief’s Nick Hodgson, it’s no surprise that the record is already proving to be a huge hit.

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There wasn’t a moment that didn’t have everyone singing along, from the delightful G.I.V.E, right through to the mighty closing track, Lucy. The crowd weren’t treated to an encore, but that didn’t matter, Barnett spent plenty of time interacting with his audience and performing track after track with a slick and welcoming attitude that’s sure to see him become a new favourite in the industry.

Musical talent is something that clearly runs through the veins of the Barnett family, and if this is what Ten Tonnes has to give for a debut album, then his brother better watch out because it won’t be long before this guy’s riding shotgun, picking up his own BRIT award and selling out arenas up and down the country.

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Following on from his tour, which closes at Heaven in London on May 17 are a string of festival dates including a headline slot at Beyond the Woods, as well as Reading and Leeds and a tonne more. So if you want to catch this new kid on block before his career reaches new heights, then join him on the ride or his life, because I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a long and unforgettable one.

Set list
Born to Lose
Cracks Between
Nights In Nights Out
Too Late
Wake Up
Lay It On Me
Love Me to Death
Counting Down
Look What You Started
Silver Heat
Better Than Me

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