LIVE: Rob Lynch / The Candle Thieves / Sam Little @The Monarch, London

By Tom Beck

After a summer spent playing the acoustic stage at Warped Tour, Stamford’s Rob Lynch is going from strength to strength. His new album, ‘All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul’, has just been released on Xtra Mile in the UK and was picked up by German label Grand Hotel van Cleef last year. To celebrate the release, Rob invited a few friends to share the stage with him at the homely Monarch in Camden, London.

Sam Little was the first up. The one time Fleeing From Finales front man (who later appeared in the under rated Clarkson and the ridiculously catchy Eat.Sleep.Attack) is slowly finding his live feet again after a few years of personal development. His set is essentially a poignant story about his relationships, his new role as a father, and the huge impact losing his own father has had on him. It’s added a real character to his set and the closing track, ‘Bones’, encapsulates everything that makes Sam a great performer. It’s emotional, captivating, and sung with such an impressive vocal range.

The main support came from Peterborough’s The Candle Thieves. The twee indie-pop duo, featuring Scott McEwan formerly of Caffeine, has also slowed down their live appearances over the years. Much like Sam Little, The Candle Thieves play a set with real heart and full of character here. It’s melodic pop played primarily on an acoustic guitar and keyboard but with added appearances from a whole host of percussion instruments. There are shades of Ed Sheeran and Nizlopi in the vocal delivery (we honestly type this as a compliment, so hopefully it’s taken as one), though perhaps they’re lacking that killer hook at times. They end on a rendition of Rob’s ‘My Friends & I’ and appeal to the crowd to make this one of the best nights of the main act’s life.

With space in the venue at a premium, Rob Lynch takes the stage with just an acoustic guitar and a microphone. His stripped back performance still carries as much weight as his full band shows and his set is a triumphant and mature culmination of the last few years. Opening track ‘Broken Bones’ is one of the biggest acoustic tracks you’ll hear this year and, along with ‘Stamford’ and ‘Hand Grenade’, bring a great energy to the set. Whilst those more rousing moments are a signature feature of a Rob Lynch show, it’s the more heartfelt tracks such as ‘Whiskey’ and ‘Widow’ (featuring an appearance from album producer Sam Duckworth) that leave the biggest impact. Rob takes a moment between tracks to explain the stories he’s performing and, with his mum in attendance (who is the subject of ‘Widow’), there is a real delicate and raw emotion to each one. He’s also keen to show gratitude to those who have helped him along the way too (something this particular reviewer experiences at first hand). As Rob finishes on his customary ‘My Friends & I’ it brings an end to one of the most life affirming sets of the year.

We’ve seen Rob Lynch mature as a performer over the years and he’s now showing that great mix of confidence and humility. It’s that fine line between being the average approachable guy and the star on stage that he’s growing into. It’s been a long journey for the singer songwriter and one that isn’t likely to end any time soon.

‘All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul’ is available to buy and stream now. Read the Punktastic review of the record here.