Charlie Simpson – O2 Academy, Islington

By Tom Aylott

Tonight, CHARLIE SIMPSON has managed to completely and utterly pack Islington Academy. And not just with rabid female fans, a pretty wild amount of extremely tall grown men make up the numbers as well – undoubtable proof of just how far Charlie has come from his Busted and Fightstar days to his incredibly brilliant debut solo album ‘Young Pilgrim’.

First things first: Charlie Simpson is great live. His husky voice is flawless and his backing band are much the same. Considering the fact that he plays a fairly long set, he manages to maintain the audience’s concentration impressively. Single ‘Parachutes‘ is second on the setlist and it goes down a storm.

He plays a set largely consisting of the contents of ‘Young Pilgrim’, but there’s also a rare treat in there: a Cutting Crew cover of ‘(I Just) Died In Your Arms’, which is Completely brilliant. In a surprising turn of events, Charlie plays his most famous solo hit, ‘Down Down Down’ halfway through the set rather than saving the best for last as most expect – much like the rest of the set, it sounds beautiful.

For the rest of the show, Simpson plays the remainder of ‘Young Pilgrim’ and then comes back on to play an encore, ending with the delectable ‘Farmer & His Gun’. He and his band are mesmerising; the crowd cannot take their eyes off the stage. Blame that lovely voice.