Happy to be leaving the cold December air behind us, we were welcomed into a dimly lit, compact space inside London’s Laylow, to enjoy a night of live music from singer-songwriter, Rhys Lewis. As a toasty warmth circulated the room, a nice lively buzz brewed inside it. Drinks flowed from the bar in the background and the overall feel of the vibes radiating from the crowd, were happy ones.
Edging her way through the people and up onto the stage, was South East London’s Olivia Dean, who was showcasing her musical skills in support on the night. With her soulful, jazzy tones and quirky lyrics sweetly filling the venue, performing tracks such as ‘Password Change’ and her new single ‘Reason To Stay’, she was an instant hit with the crowd and a real treat to see perform! The guitar-led acoustics served as a stunning backdrop to her catchy tunes, creating the perfect mood for the night ahead and cementing her as a definite one-to-watch over the coming months.
The crowd packed themselves in closer, ready to get a better view of the man they had all come to see. Greeted by a wave of cheers, Rhys Lewis hit the stage and strummed his way into his opening track, playing ‘Waking Up Without You’, followed by ‘Living In The City’. Both familiar sounds for fans, as they sung along with him, warming themselves into his rich, soulful tones. In conversation with his crowd, Rhys admitted that he was feeling pretty nervous about the night ahead, which was met with instant encouragement from the room. Before giving a special shout out to his Μum and Dad, who were also present on the night.
Throughout the set, Rhys introduced us to some of his as-of-yet-unreleased material, which, judging by the applauds ringing after each one, were thoroughly enjoyed by all. Adding to the buzzing atmosphere even further, Rhys treated his crowd to the news that he will be releasing some new music later this month. Leading into the performance of another newbie called ‘Better Than Today’ — “I normally write sad songs generally, this ones a little more hopeful, so I hope you like it”, he said.
Thanking everyone for supporting the next song, Rhys went on to play ‘No Right To Love You’, before melting hearts with his latest release ‘Could’ve Been’. Playing the track into an uptempo guitar solo, while spurred on by the cheers of his crowd. Keeping the night short and sweet, we were on the final song before we knew it. Rhys wrapped the night up performing another tune written beautifully through his pain and heartbreak, singing the brilliant ‘Be Your Μan’, satisfying us with another older track that we could unleash our singalong vocals for.
With that, the gig was over—Rhys Lewis put down his microphone, joined his fans on the floor for a chat and some photos—and back out into the cold night air we went.
Words and photos by Demi Leigh