GIG REVIEW: Hunter Hayes @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, 30/09/2015

Currently best known as a country artist, the young American artist Hunter Hayes is moving slowly into a sub-genre of country-pop. With songs such as “I Want Crazy” and “Tattoo” following a more jumpy beat they contrast to the usual mellow ‘my woman left me so I gotta drink away my memories’ tone that many country songs follow. However, with bluesy and Guns ’n’ Roses-type baselines and guitar melodies, it is clear that the young singer-songwriter has other musical influences on his work.

His new album ‘Storyline’ has a somewhat more grown-up feel than the previous albums of a lovesick teen. With songs like “When Did You Stop Loving Me and “Is it Just Me”, the young 24 year old has begun to let his older life experience seep into his music. Written in the minor key “You Think You Know Somebody” has to be my favourite of his songs, presenting a struggling individual suffering through a break-up and questioning his identity. Having always been praised for his beautifully descriptive lyrics, these new tracks are only an improvement on Hayes’ unique way of story-telling through song.

Performing in the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Hayes’ gig was full of musical talent, Hayes himself playing a different instrument for almost every song. Playing all the top new hits and some old favourites requested by his fans, the crowd was clearly enjoying themselves, singing along loudly, swaying as one with the slower ballads and jumping with every fast paced number.

Hayes, known to be extremely kind and generous to his fans, didn’t disappoint, chatting regularly between songs and showing his genuine gratitude for their constant loyalty. This is an artist who is not only clearly extremely musically talented, but he is also someone who knows how to treat his audience well. In my opinion, Hunter Hayes is an artist who is only maturing and growing in his musical ability as he finds his own unique sound. His gigs are definitely worth the wait and I among many others are happily anticipating his certain return to the UK soon.

Review by Gracie Mc