James Baxter Live Review // The Talking Heads

James Baxter Live Review // The Talking Heads
(+ Rich Mayor +Jack Francis)

Following his recent signing to Mi7 Records, label to Trampolene and King Charles, James Baxter showcased exactly why he caught the attention of Mi7 through his headline gig at The Talking Heads Wednesday night. With Wednesday being, as Baxter described “the shittest day of the week” it still couldn’t stop a large crowd of people arriving keen to witness his amazing talent.
Rich Mayor opened the night and is a singer/songwriter from Portsmouth. With folk-style songs combined with his blatant punk influences showing that Frank Turner could have and quite possibly is a big inspiration in his song writing, Mayor presented himself as having a down to earth agenda combined with a potent splash of charisma.
Jack Francis was the next act of the night and as one audience member so correctly put, his sound can be described as “hot honey being poured over large, warm breasts”. His warming voice tangled into his Americana/Soul style silenced the audience from opening track ‘Sunday Dreaming’ to the final note in closing number, ‘How Long ‘Til I See The Sun’. The silence amongst the crowd was a clear result of the breath-taking tone created by Francis and produced a magical aura spurred by just one man and his guitar.
James Baxter is a singer/songwriter from Southampton and has bought back American influences post his time travelling throughout his early 20s. Despite Baxter writing his songs originally for acoustic/solo performances, he was joined by his band and sister on vocals. The extraordinary blood harmonies between Baxter and sister, Hannah found in tracks such as ‘As Strong as My Last Drink’ show how harmonies created by siblings are something quite incredible.
‘Soap and Water’ was the stand out track of the whole night due to the dark lyrics being layered over a melody designed to drag you into the filthy settings Baxter describes. The opening line foreshadows the grubby adventure the song is to take you on with, “Don’t you wish you’d picked a poison that wasn’t so damn easy to ingest,” before Baxter goes into, “On a path to self-destruction, you won’t be starting World War 3, the only things you’ll be nuking will be the bottle by your bed and your internet history”.
With previous comparisons to the likes of James Taylor and Paul Simon, Baxter’s hypnotic guitar playing is designed to whisk you into the world he has so skilfully created; plus, with a headline tour fast approaching after his debut release with Mi7, James Baxter is one destined for great things.
Image: Rhona Murphy


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