Talentbanq’s Secret ‘Road to Madison Square Garden’ Gig – Featuring Morganway and Isabella Coulstock

I’ve been to many gigs before, but this is definitely the first one I’ve attended where I didn’t know who would be playing! This is due to it being a ‘Secret’ event put on by Talentbanq. The event was billed as ‘The Road to Madison Square Garden’ and I caught up with Ray Jones, the Talentbanq CEO who gave me the idea behind it.

I’m very pleased to share exactly what is going on at the Green Note this evening! We’ve got two incredible artists that have both appeared here before in Isabella Coulstock and Morganway. Somewhat as a joke at the end of a gig for both I said that when these guys open at Madison Square Garden, you the audience are all invited as my guests. My hope is that one day these guys will actually play at Madison Square Garden, and my hope is that no-one calls on me for an airfare!

On turning up, I was delighted to find out the line-up – both artists highly familiar to me and I knew it was going to be an exciting night in a great venue. Regular Belles and Gals watchers will know that The Green Note is a place we’ve used for our own gigs, and Morganway have played for us twice over the years.

There was a real buzz about the venue before Isabella took to the stage at around 8.30pm. I hadn’t seen Isabella play since quite a time before lockdown, an artist I had always thought had great potential. It’s clear now that you can lose the word ‘potential’, as she is simply now ‘great’. Watching Isabella play today is like watching a seasoned professional – she has an incredible stage presence and it’s clear that her experience in playing live so often means that she really knows how to work a crowd.

Who Do You Think You Are‘ was a particular highlight, which spotlighted both her vocal power and the keyboard playing of Isabella. ‘Riverside‘ was another one, a thoughtful tune about those reflective moments in life, a song that was met with a fantastic silence by the packed venue. ‘Honky Tonk Beer‘ was a great crowd pleaser, this time encouraging everyone to sing along, the atmosphere such that the crowd didn’t need much to persuade them. It was great to hear Isabella sing ‘Crazy Cowboy‘, a song that she wrote at the age of 13, which has been a staple part of her set ever since. Her set finished with the rousing ‘Revolution‘, an incredible ending to her set that had all the audience on their feet.

After a short break, Morganway appeared on the stage, playing as a five (the Green Note stage is a little compact, so I’m not sure all six could have fitted!). The band opened with Devil’s Canyon, a great energetic introduction to their talents and fantastic number after fantastic number followed. ‘My Love Ain’t Gonna Save You‘ is always a popular number which was followed by the brilliant ‘Back to Zero‘, which is the title track of their forthcoming album. The epic ‘Frozen In Our Time‘ notched up the atmosphere to near boiling point, before ‘Don’t Turn the Lights On Yet‘ gave us a glimpse of what the band will be playing in the future – hint: it’s just brilliant! ‘Wait For Me‘, with the epic strings is another great winner and new number from the band, which was followed by another new one – ‘World Stops Running’. If you like those songs that fully engage the crowd, this was it!

Morganway saved the best till last, ramping it up with ‘London Live‘ which literally had the crowd bouncing (almost as much as lead singer SJ Morgan and fiddle player Nicole J Terry were bouncing!). An inevitable encore ensued, Morganway leaving us with the standout ‘Hurricane’.

In heading to a ‘secret gig’ you are really taking a chance, but on purchasing the tickets, I knew it would be something special – Talentbanq have a great reputation as promoters, and I was in no doubt that it would be a good night. The night went way further than that. In Isabella Coulstock and Morganway, you have two of the true rising stars of the UK scene – brilliant, accomplished artists who know how to put on a show.

On leaving the gig I said one word to Ray Jones – ‘Joyous!

Review written by Nick Cantwell (instagram.com/nickcantwellmanagement)


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