Maddie & Tae @ Islington Assembly Hall, London 26/10/2016

The evening started with a brilliant opening set from Una Healey. Hailing from Ireland and a former member of The Saturdays, her voice had a warm mellow sound. She opened her set with Please Don’t Tell Me which was a lovely tune, which really set out her stall as an artist. Una followed this with Staring At The Moon , a song that she wrote for her daughter. The premise of the song is that wherever Una and her daughter are in the world, due to Una’s constant touring, both Una and her daughter are connected by staring at the moon. I thought this was a beautiful story to go with the song. There were a few other lovely tunes which ended with Black is the Colour. Una believes the tune is based on an old Celtic tune. As someone who has a Scottish ancestry I could clearly hear how there was a Celtic influence in the song. I really enjoyed Una’s set. Her debut EP is going to be available early next year, and based on that set, I am looking forward to it.

Maddie and Tae opened their set with Shut Up and Fish, a song that was well known to the crowd due to commercial success. The fact that it is a fast number generated a party atmosphere amongst the audience which won them over quickly.

The electric pace of the evening was continued with No Place Like You which showed off the band’s musical talents as many of them changed instruments for this song. This would happen many times throughout the night. I was very impressed by the wide range of talent of the band.

After the first two numbers, Maddie and Tae realised that the majority of the fans knew the words to the songs. The girls decided to give the audience their chance to sing along to Right Here, Right Now. Maddie and Tae seemed to be genuinely touched by the fact that a bunch of fans from a thousand miles away knew the lyrics to their songs as if they were a British act. It was something they expressed genuine thanks for on more than one occasion.

The evening continued with Waiting On a Plane. By this point I felt that both the girls and the audience had firmly settled down into the gig and it was going to be a very enjoyable evening.

The girls moved slightly off the beaten track by performing a song they had written for someone else. Due to being swept away in the atmosphere of the gig, I did not clearly hear what the song was called or who recorded it. This was my only regret of the evening.

The girls returned to their own material by performing a new song entitled Mirror Mirror. This song will be on their second album that they are currently working on. It was really nice to hear a new song by them and get a preview of how they are developing as artists, both in subject matter and musical arrangement.

The Maddie and Tae choir (i.e the audience) were called into action once again to provide supporting vocals to Fly. Once again the choir did not miss a word and the girls were humbled by this.

The girls then began to talk about their influences and favourite artists. One of the artists mentioned were the Dixie Chicks. Maddie and Tae paid homage to them by performing Landslide. As an audience member it was nice to discover who inspires them and how they interpret their songs.

The Downside of Growing Up which is a very mature song for two girls who are in their early 20s was performed next. It is a song that has a lot of truth behind it.

Before playing After The Storm Blows Through the girls explained the story behind the song. They told the story of a friend who had recently lost a parent to cancer. Hearing the song again with the context of it borne in mind, almost gave the song a new lease of life. It is really nice when artists let the audience into the stories behind the songs. It is one of the many benefits of seeing an artist perform live.

Smoke was next to be performed which was the last of the slower tracks. From then on it was party time!

The tempo was cranked up to fever pitch with Your Side of Town which was filled with clapping, cheering and everyone having a good time.

A favourite of mine, Sierra was next on the list. The girls built the song up nicely by saying sometimes we are subtle about what we are writing about, and other times, we are obvious! Maddie then began to tell the story of Sierra, a girl who bullied her at school. When talking about her Maddie tried to call her a b**** without saying the actual word. One audience member saved her blushes and said the word for her. This caused Tae to remark that some words sound so much better in a British accent, which made us all laugh. Most of the fans had heard the story before and so knew what was coming next. This built up the excitement to hear the track.

The girls then did their interpretation of Rihanna’s hit Umbrella. If I was being ultra-critical I would have preferred them to do another of their own songs or a country cover. But that is me indirectly expressing my view on modern pop music more than anything else.

They closed their set with arguably their biggest hit; Girl in a Country Song, this song probably got the loudest cheer of the night. It was a great song to end on.

After the traditional clapping and cheering, the girls and the band returned to perform Cowboy Take Me Away by the Dixie Chicks. This seemed to go down very well with everyone well ad versed of the lyrics.

There was an opportunity to meet the girls after the gig. Unfortunately due the sheer volume of people that wanted to meet them, the meeting per person was very brief and no photos were allowed to be taken. This was slightly disappointing but understandable in the circumstances.

Overall it was a great gig and I really enjoyed myself. It was nice to see the girls host their own gig and express themselves in their own way. I felt that they were genuinely grateful for the fact that they were so well received by fans. I firmly believe that they will be returning to the UK in the future, and I will be sure to get a ticket.

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