Last night Ashley McBryde kicked off her 2024 UK tour in Southampton – of all places! I was overjoyed, one of my favourite artists playing in my home town! No relying on public transport to get to the venue and home again! In these days of strike actions this is a real bonus! Going to concerts is becoming tricky not just because of the strikes, but also since Covid, two of my late trains have been scrapped, so I now have to aim for the last train home. I HATE that, I ALWAYS aim for the train before the last train. This now means I often have to leave a gig early. A result of this, not only is my gig experience cut short, but I also do not come out of the venue with that ‘Gig High’ feeling! So to be going to a gig in Southampton with a friend driving – BRILLIANT!
Ashley had two support acts, the first was Harper O’Neil. Harper had a lovely sounding voice and was personable and chatty between songs. Her set was too slow for my liking though, I like more upbeat songs.
Next was Corey Kent, I was looking forward to watching him having seen him at C2C last year. He was dressed for the weather! He had a big heavy jacket on with a hoodie underneath!! Must admit, it was flipping cold, but you would have thought the lights from the stage would have warmed him up! Again though, I am afraid Corey didn’t do it for me, he was too slow again! Where has the upbeat music gone?
Finally it was time for Ashley! She didn’t come on until 9.20! I was really glad again my lift was standing right behind me! If I was in London I would have been totally stressed by this late start! As it was, Ashley and her band were brilliant, as always!
First time I saw Ashley was at C2C in 2018. I saw her on the Indigo stage and again on the Spotlight stage. I remember being impressed and really liking what I heard, both in sound and the lyrics. Since then, every time I have seen her she has been better and better! She was back for C2C in 2022, the first one since 2019. She was on the main stage this time and boy did she OWN that stage! A lot of us said at the time that it was almost a different performer on the main stage! She had gained in confidence and maturity.
Her performance this evening was just as good as always and further cemented Ashley as one of my favourite live performers. ‘Brenda Put Your Bra’ on was hilarious, as Ashley waved a bra around and then threw it into the audience. One was also thrown at her (well I only saw one, there may have been others!)
‘Girl Going Nowhere’ was incredible, the audience were so quiet just listening to Ashley sing, well apart from when she sang “I hear the crowd”, an almighty cheer went up at that stage! The audience were also really quiet during ‘Sparrow’. I really like this respect!
Ashley introduced her band over a series of songs, some of them have been with her a long time and it shows, the love and camaraderie they have is obvious.
It ended up a really long set, more than got our monies worth and I definetly came out with that ‘Gig High’!! I don’t think the venue was sold out, which is a shame for Ashley, but it was an awful lot more comfortable than a lot of the gigs I have been to in London recently. You could easily stand and you weren’t bustled or bumped into. Of course I had the Jolly Green Giant standing in front of me so I had to keep craning around him to see, but hey if I will go to the pub first rather than queue for the barrier that is my own look out!
One Night Standards
Brenda Put your Bra On
Whiskey and Country Music
Single At the Same Time
Water In The River
Made For This
Girl Going Nowhere
First Thing I Reach For
Cool Little Bars
Learned to Lie
Women Ain’t Whiskey
Coldest Beer In Town
Tired of Being Happy
A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega
Light On In The Kitchen
The Devil I Know
Bible & a .44
Bonfire at Tina’s
The last 2 tracks were an encore, so they may change as the tour gathers pace!
I would pick out my favourite track, but I can’t! ‘Girl Going Nowhere’ was fabulous and ‘Light On In The Kitchen’ sounded wonderful, but there wasn’t a single track that I thought – don’t like this one! All in all, if you are off to see Ashley at any of her other dates, you will have a fab night!