How did u guys spend your Tuesday night? Well mine was so much better than my usual boring Tuesday nights as I got to attend one of my favourite country starlets Sarah Darling very first headline tour! Headlining the Night and Day Café in Manchester Sarah brought along two of her friends to provide the perfect night of live country music and to warm up the crowd before hitting the stage herself.
Kicking off the night with a fan favourite “Body Language” taken from his last EP was the talented Northern Irishman, Gary Quinn, who now resides in Manchester himself and regularly accompanies Sarah on stage to help warm up the crowd. Playing a short set – just him accompanied by his guitar, he treated the audience to a few well-known classics as well as some new tracks too. He was the perfect way to start the awesome night of country that was ahead. The standout song of his set for me was his new one “Warm Dark of Night” which has made the cut for his new acoustic EP. He ended his set with the up-tempo classic “I Love to Watch you Leave” which had the audience hand clapping along and left wanting more.
Next to take the stage was Emma Steven’s, a UK based singer songwriter from Guildford. Now I’ll admit I had never heard of Emma before the show but what I love about these kind of events is the fact you can attend not knowing the support artist, but instantly get drawn in by their songs and story! This is exactly what happened to me with Emma. She played an incredible set of beautifully written songs. Starting her set with her song “Amaretto Kisses” she told the audience this was a song about missing home which everyone could relate too. Emma’s stage presence and talent was mesmerising to watch and she even brought out a Ukelele for one of her songs showcasing the multi talents she possessed. Even a drum screen falling down and just missing her during one of her up-tempo songs didn’t falter her performance, a full-on talent who is a must see for any fan of UK country music. This might have been the first time seeing this girl but won’t be the last that is for sure.
Now the crowd was fully warmed up all that was left was to await the main attraction to take the stage. Accompanied by a band for the first time they started by playing an opening intro for Sarah’s entrance on to the stage. Strutting on to the stage dressed in a black sequined dress the Nashville beauty kicked off her show with “You don’t have to be lonely tonight”.
Interacting with her audience instantly she made it known she values her fan’s time spent coming out to attend these shows – she also pointed out how she recognised quite a lot of the attendees and it warmed her heart to see so many familiar faces in the crowd again. It was then she told the audience she wanted to take them to Jackson Ohio to a song that started everything for her “Where Cowboys Ride”. This was one of the songs during C2C festival a few weeks ago everyone shocked her by singing every word of this song back to her and that touched and amazed her so much.
Having seen Sarah quite a few times now usually just the songstress accompanied by her guitar it was nice to see her shake it up a little tonight and try something different with support coming from a full band. Although it provided a totally different sound to every song she sang, it was also nice to see her strip it back to just her and her guitar while singing new song “Wasted”. Throwing in a few long awaited new songs provisionally due for release in October its evident her new songs are going to be sure fire hits.
One song that stood out was a fun song she sang that made the audience want to dance and shimmer like Gold as evidently Sarah definitely shimmered during her set tonight. Mixing her set up again, she explained she moved to Nashville 14 years ago and wanted to bring a little piece of her hometown back and provide a Nashville vibe to this little Manchester bar by slowing it down, just her accompanied by two guitars with a stunning tribute to Tom Petty. With her full set filled with classic fan favourites and a few new songs she also managed to fit in two incredible well-known covers – The Smiths “Please Please Please” and Coldplay’s “Yellow”. Ending a perfect outstanding set on the words “Not to give up on your dreams” my favourite song “Halley’s Comet” started to play. As the song ends and Sarah exits the stage the audience are left wanting more and hoping for an encore. The encore was just as fabulous as the main set. Two songs – a fun little up-tempo song about drinking umbrella drinks and then the beautifully written “Stargazer” from her Dream Country album. Capturing the audience with the lyrics of the song was the perfect way to end to an incredible night of live country talent and left us all hoping Sarah Darling will be back very soon.
Review written by Katie Louise Ingram (twitter.com/xkatie19x)