As a closet (or not so closet) X Factor fan and lover of edgy pop, I knew this gig would be a great night. Yes it’s January and Christmas has never felt so far away but this tour did begin before the big day, so we’ll let the name of the tour slide just this once. Hosted in a small nightclub just next to Charing Cross station, which I’d never heard of before, it was an intimate affair that certainly provided a barrel of laughs.
The former Rock School star Lil’ Chris was supported by three guys who all reached the Judges’ Houses stage on The X Factor and as an avid viewer, I remembered all three. Kicking things off with an energetic mix was 16-year-old Giles Potter of the 2013 series. He performed Chocolate by The 1975 and Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours before inviting an unsuspecting birthday girl on stage to serenade with Paulo Nutini’s Last Request.
Up next came Jake Quickenden, who came armed with a guitar and plenty of Northern charm. As well as self-penned efforts, he performed an impressive mash-up of throwback pop and R&B tracks such as TLC’s Unpretty and City High’s What Would You Do? His beautiful original track Blindfold, which he dedicated to his late brother, failed to leave a dry eye in the place and he left the stage as the big surprise of the night.
Before the headliner was Essex boy Tom Mann, who introduced his set with a One Direction medley including Little Things and Best Song Ever. As the crowd was mostly female and aged between 16 and 20, he gained more than a few cheers. A few of his original compositions played on his guitar with his quirky indie voice followed as well as a cover of the recent Jason Derulo track Trumpets.
However, these boys were the calm before the storm once Lil’ Chris burst onto the stage with bags more energy and attitude. Leaving his teenage years as the guitarist in Rock School, Chris is flying (and grinding!) solo. His stage presence really makes a huge impact and you can’t help but jump along to his hits such as Rachel and Get Delirious. If you’re ever looking for a meaningless but hilariously good night out, a Lil’ Chris gig should be top of your list of options.
His songs I’ve Been Had and Getting Enough? are hugely relevant to everyone and they’re performed with the passion and cheeky manner that are required to pull them off. His big crowd-pleasers Checkin’ It Out and Figure It Out got everyone jumping and bathing in his energy before he ended with his cover of Jermaine Stewart’s 80s hit We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off. However in true Chris style, he did then remove his clothes. Not all of them but by the end of the show and with all four boys on stage, he was reduced to just his boxer shorts to the raucous screams of the teenage crowd.
He may not be one of the best known stars but he can certainly put on a great show. Chris’ boyish face and undeniable sex appeal cause him to get away with murder and due to both of these things, he’s certainly a huge guilty pleasure of mine!