As Liverpool’s own man in black strolled into town for a sell out show at The Arts Club, Getintothis’ Paul Fitzgerald went along to witness a star very much ascending.
A packed room, a massive buzz, and the short, sharp sucker punch of a blistering set is what we found at Arts Club. Louis Berry came armed to the teeth with a brace of great songs, and the accomplished confidence of a seasoned performer far older than his 23 years.
There’s clearly a plan with Berry‘s management and label. They’ve deliberately held back with this performer, choosing to develop him slowly but meticulously. What’s clear from this commanding performance is that the plan’s working. So rather than any of the brand new songs, he relied on the effervescent brilliance and supercharged dirty realism of 25 Reasons, and .45 to leave their mark. There are new songs, for sure, but now’s not the time. It’s frustrating, but hey, only slightly.
He’s off to the US to record the album this month, and it may be safe to assume, given the strength of his writing, that an absolute belter of a record will be the result. We hope. All this cards to the chest protection could backfire if its not handled right. It wouldn’t be the first time.
For now, though, Berry takes everything into his mould from skiffle, R n B, delta blues, rockabilly and country, and spits out little wonders like Rebel with devastating ease and a sense of urgency. He carries himself with a relaxed confidence when he plays, which some might wrongly assume to be arrogance. It’s just surety, a belief that what he’s doing is right, and here, in front of an appreciative home crowd, is where that comes across most, and best.
He nods to the crowd, smiling all the way, and the buzz from the crowd is thrown right back at them. He knows. Knows that this is working, that the plan is coming together nicely, it’s absolutely his wave, and he’s absolutely going to ride it. Good old fashioned honest and well constructed songs, punched through by his characteristic scratched and burnt vocal, huge arm-in-the-air choruses, and a magnificent rock-out three piece band behind him, give this set just the punch it deserves, and at the end of each song, arms wide, he smiles and thanks this adoring crowd.
8 songs, 40 minutes, no encore, and he’s gone, his night’s work done, and the reaction from the jumping hordes is as impressive as the set they’ve just witnessed. More to come, hopefully.
Support came from Liverpool singer-songwriter Stephanie Grace Kennedy, with a set of country-tinged soul, with nods to Bonnie Raitt, Faith Hill, and Jeff Buckley. Performing a neat enough set of sweetly sung and inoffensive tunes, her choice as support for a show such as this just seemed a little incongruous at times.
Pictures by Getintothis’ John Johnson.