Having been to the Vans Warped Tour before Christmas, I had high hopes for the acoustic version of the tour they were putting on at London’s The Borderline.
It didn’t fail to deliver.
Artists playing included Brian Marquis, Rob Lynch, Koji and Geoff Rickly (former singer of post-hardcore band Thursday).
Having not heard any of these artists perform before I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by the talent they all showed.
The tour has only just started with London being one of the first on the relatively long list of dates, so the performer’s energy levels were very high and they put on a good show when they had the stage.
The first artist to perform, Brian Marquis, brought the noise and energy to the venue and got the audience involved with his performance.
He used a harmonica for one of his songs which made it a little different and added a very country atmosphere to his set which was amplified because of the fact he was playing acoustically.
This was his first UK tour but you would not have guessed that because of his great stage presence.
Each song was noticeably different to the next and there was never a lull.
I found it odd to be at a gig where the audience didn’t sing along with the performer but I think it made the whole experience better because you then engaged with the lyrics and gave them your full attention.
Rob Lynch graced the stage next and wasn’t afraid to use all of it. Unlike most artists he was bouncing around which made the audience enjoy the experience more.
The first few songs of his were really upbeat and then he moved into slower songs. Whiskey in particular was the one that caught my attention the most because it was about the passing of his father when he was 21 and he conveyed his feelings about the event so well that it brought a tear to my eye because the emotion was so raw.
He most definitely made his father proud.
The Borderline is quite a small venue so it was a very intimate gig, even from the back of the standing area you could see the performer clearly. I think this was the perfect setting for the gig because I find acoustic shows to be more close-knit and mean more when it’s shared with a handful of people, it was extremely intimate, which had obviously been well-thought out by the organisers of the tour.
Koji was next in line to perform and hailing from Harrisburg, PA, he was a long way from home for the show.
He had a very smooth voice and at times his singing style reminded me a little of Placebo.
Unlike many other artists he didn’t talk about every song before he played them, he just went from finishing one song to starting the next.
It flowed well this way and kept the audience’s attention.
He was quite funny though, and frequently made the crowd laugh which helped ease any possible tension or awkwardness which can arise when you are listening to somebody you’ve never heard of. It also made him seem really likeable and down to earth.
After Koji, it was time for the main act of the night, Geoff Rickly.
He said that he was playing these shows and including a lot of Thursday’s material as a proper send off for the band as he felt that he never really got that closure when the band ended.
It was easy to see that a lot of the audience were at the show to see him as when he played the old tunes from Thursday’s catalogue of songs most of the crowd would sing along.
For an artist looking for a little more closure about his previous music endeavours, it was nice to see that the audience participation made him feel really happy.
To break up the old songs though he played some solo songs too, including ones where he felt he had branched out. Rickly dipped into hip hop and dropped a beat on his iPad as he played and sang along, which was a nice variation to the set list of the night.
He connected with the audience so well that when he’d finished his set they cheered for an encore and he happily obliged and went back on stage for one song more which he sang with Rob Marquis, Rob Lynch and Koji.
Overall it was a very good night, I’m a firm believer that because it was acoustic it meant that there was a sort of chilled out relaxed atmosphere in the venue.
I would recommend everyone goes to the next Vans Warped Acoustic Basement Tour. To find out the upcoming tour dates click here.
All photos by Chris Harding.