26 April, 2018
229 The Venue, London
Megan O’Neill’s album launch was the best value ticket on the scene by a country mile. Not only did the it pay for a live set to introduce the album, it included a Megan O’Neill tote bag with the CD, stickers and a little bottle of CampFire gin!
“If we haven’t bummed you out yet”
If all that wasn’t enough, Two Ways Home was the support band. They started strong with their most country song, Two Short Years. As ever, Isabella Mariee wowed in the breakdown, Michael Clancy dazzled with countrified guitar kicks, and Lewis Fowler’s electro-acoustic guitar work and harmonies underpinned it all.
Other than a few missing band members, this may as well have been a headline set for Two Ways Home. Plenty of their Round Up songwriters’ round regulars were in the crowd, both punters and performers. They capitalised on this with a greatest hits set with Just For Now, Better Days and Don’t Give Up On Me in quick succession. A good time was had by all.
Two Ways Home are playing Nashville Meets London at Canary Wharf at 4:45 on July 29. Head to Facebook for information about their monthly songwriters’ round, The Round Up. On August 2 they’ll be hosting O&O, Vic Allen and Lauren Housley. They will also be at The Long Road festival on September 7.
“A big shout out to the gin I’m drinking now”
Practical as ever, Megan O’Neill stirred her drink with her finger before casually blowing everyone away with a sparkling set. She began with Don’t Come Easy, the opening track of her new album, which is an absolute tune. She smashed it out of the park with soaring vocals and vibrant keys.
Megan O’Neill kept up the vocal reach in Let’s Make One Up and all the other damn songs because that’s what she excels at. The band followed her lead.
O’Neill lit up the room with her smile as she joked about playing ‘the hit,’ Ghost Of You. It’s no joke to say it’s a catchy one, and it’s worth noting that over 10,000 people streamed her album on Spotify in the first two months of release. That’d be the album that went straight to number 1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart, no less.
The first of the special guests, James Walsh of Starsailor, stepped up to duet on their searing song, Bottle. It was about alcohol abuse, not the good kind of relationship with alcohol that you get when the concert’s sponsored by a gin company.
Despite not billing herself as a country artist, she can draw a country crowd with her exquisite voice and solid hooks. That cheeky smile came back when she joked about claiming that a Chris Stapleton song was her own if it turned out that this crowd didn’t know it already!
She also played Coldplay’s Parachutes. The final cover was the best of the three; a reprise of Maren Morris’ My Church, which had everyone dancing like it did at Nashville Nights earlier in the year. Here’s that video if you missed the fun.
Good Love kept up the momentum, a real feel-good singalong moment. Treadin’ Water was less positive lyrically, but the 80s vibe went down well with the raucous crowd. It was new but that didn’t stop the audience singing along. The main set ended with Without, an absolutely stunning song which showcased O’Neill’s talent.
The encore saw the introduction of more special guests. The Dunwells had come from Leeds to share the night with one of their favourite co-writers.
Together they performed passionate versions of Any Younger and Lost A Love. With that, an exhilarating, exuberant night of music and laughter came to a close with the capacity crowd congratulating and celebrating with O’Neill off before rushing off to enjoy the album – six weeks before the official release date – and the gin!
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