Braving the blizzards in exchange for free entry, those who managed the trek made themselves welcome whilst I got to the bar let the vodka warm myself up and null the sound of loud, excited teens preparing to watch Mid Wales acoustic artist Alexander Worth support the exciting Shropshire up-and-comers StayAwake.
A merry Alex took his seat on stage with an easeful smile and warmly invited the widespread audience to bring their chairs forward and gather around the stage, where he praised the surprising turn-out for making the effort to join him this evening, and I robbed a previously occupied centre table. Pleasurably telling some more light-hearted jokes to enhance a joyous atmosphere to perform in, he began his set with Mumford and Sons ‘Lovers’ Eyes’, and instantly made an impact with magnificently clear, crisp vocals which rang grandly around the stage and brought an enthusiastic applause to finish, beckoning a soulful cover of his Newtown bands’ Ex Nihilo’s ‘New Light’. Two more fitting performances that I need to mention was a cover of ‘Call Me Maybe’ in which I found myself drunkenly comparing him too much to Ben Howard… Cheerful and upbeat he was captivatingly supported by clapping around the room, a performance only outdone by a cover of Stone Sour’s ‘Through The Glass’ where I witnessed passionate, heartbreaking vocals which exemplified his range terrifically, which deservedly received his loudest applause of the evening.
StayAwake assembled themselves onstage confidently, and I was confronted by a frontman rockerboy persona, a reaffirming Machine Head t-shirt alongside matching Biffy Clyro tees… What exactly was I in for? Well, my doubts were soon swept aside once the performing began: a brilliantly passionate cover of Foo Fighters ‘Burning Bridges’ featuring Alex left the room screaming for more. Playing with a distinctive Ramones-like style they played exceptionally well to their genre, and memorably engaged the crowd with anthems such as ‘Staceys Mom’, ‘The Middle’ and a couple of Green Day covers which tantalisingly struck me an interesting comparison between vocalist Harry Davies and Billy Joe Armstrong. Keeping momentum up late into the night the finale saw the entirety of the crowd lie on their backs to Elvis Presley’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’.
With a hard copy of StayAwake’s first full E.P en route, any fans of punk rock would be daft to miss out on grabbing one for themselves. Alex Worth’s intimate performance was one to remember, and I’ll certainly be sure to catch him playing again whenever possible.
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