Ward Thomas are a dazzling duo whom I well and truly adore. Twinsies Lizzy and Catherine are ever so lovely and they are also exquisite singers. The moment the 2017 22 date Cartwheels tour was announced last year I immediately booked for the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in the May. Just looking at those dates the show at Guildford’s G Live was extremely enticing. Having researched the route there and back I decided to take the plunge and purchase a ticket.
April 28th came and I got to the venue at 3pm. It was nice that I knew a couple of people who were attending this opening date. Everyone got wrist banded up at 6pm ans then we made our way to one of the doors. Fast forward to 7.30pm, the doors opened and I was greeted to a quaint G Live. Prior to this evening I was envisioning this venue to be like the Brighton Centre but this wasn’t the case as it was much smaller.
After a stupendous set from Wildwood Kin it was then time for the main course. Ward Thomas had an extensive 19 song set compromising of 13 tunes from Cartwheels, 3 from the debut, 1 from the recently released covers EP and then there were 2 brand spanking new tracks. This sensational set began at 9pm and kicked off with an a capella inroduction of their current single Material. After the first couple of lines of that delightful number they immediately launched themselves into Dirt & Gold. This was an uptempo country pop jam with lyrics which left me daze. Those impeccable verses were rather pacey and then you had the rip roaring chorus “You’re on a crowded city pavement flooded with rain/ You see a sick dance floor and it’s calling your name/ AHey! Oh yeah/ To you there’s no such thing as a dead end street/ It’s all about a part of how you gotta follow your dreams/ AHey! Oh yeah/ Oh looking down an unpaved road/ Everyone else sees dirt but you see gold”. The vocals were sheer perfection and oozed plenty of joyous feel good vibes. “Well hello Guildford. Let’s see some hands in the air” Lizzy said whist they transitioned into Boomerang. Now this was literally flawless, the vocals packed a fierce punch and those succulent lyrics were so infectious “It’s like a one step forward/ Takes me two steps back/ Knowing what I try to do/ ‘Cause boy you got me spinning like a Boomerang/ I keep on coming back to you/ I said I keep on coming back to you”. Still this was an epic tune which had me hooked from the word go. “This is a little song about small town gossip” Lizzy said before they got stuck into the super sassy When It’s Not Me. Now this delectable number was extremely upbeat, those vibrant verses were incredibly catchy but my favourite part had to be the enthralling chorus “It’s easy/ To point the finger in the other direction/ Easy/ Staring through the window from the outside in oh/ Mother told me I should play nice/ Karma’s a bitch so you’re gonna pay a high price/ Easy/ When It’s Not Me/ When It’s Not Meeee/ When It’s Not Meee-ee-ee”. Anyways this desirable song was an enthralling toe tapper which left me mesmerised. “So how you all doing this evening. This next song is our brand new single” Catherine mentioned to the sold out audience before embarking onto the whimsical Material. This cut was so light/ fluffy, the vocals were so soothing and those delightful lyrics left me compelled. After plenty of applause it was then time for the ballad Almost Easy. This was so beautiful with a dash of sadness and it was aided by soft/ gentle vocal delivery “If I was only losing you/ Goodbye wouldn’t be so brutal/ It would be almost easy/ We built castles in the clouds/ We planned a thousand futures out/ Now your packing up and leaving”. Once over it was then time for the first oldie of the evening and this coming in the shape of The Good & The Right. This was smokey toe tapping country number with startling vocals and punchy lyrics “What happened to the good?/ What happened to the right?/ We’ve got to drag it back/ We’ve got to keep it in sight/ Have we been led away?/ Been taken for a ride?/ They say it’s the only way/ But it still ain’t right”. It was then time for a bit of Good On You. Now this was an enchanting tune which Catherine and Lizzy faultlessly delivered. There was actually an acapella feel to this whimsical number.
“How you all still doing?. So we like to take this opportunity on this new tour to try out a couple of new songs” Lizzy mentioned before they dived into the dreamy Breathe In. This tune amazed me Breathe In was a breathtaking beautiful ballad which both twins delivered to perfection. Now the use of the keys created something really spine tingling. Everything about this glittering number was utter perfection, those lyrics were incredibly luscious “We run together we’re bound/ Only you have this way/ Of making me safe/ I’m home/ Oooooooo what will I do without you/ Oooooooo I’ll never have to know/ Cos some love speaks/ But our love speaks/ You Breathe In and I breathe out” and then you had the impeccable tight harmonies. This cut definitely has me relishing album number 3. “We can’t believe we’re on our 2nd tour of this album already and we just wanted to take this time to thank all of you for the support over these last couple of months and years” Lizzy humbly said before they got stuck into album 2’s title track Cartwheels. This was a mellowing tune which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on edge. The lyrics were spectacular and the vocal delivery was rather breathtaking “I’ve been doing Cartwheels/ Anything to save us/ Anything to make you notice me”. Following on it was time for a bit of Guilty Flowers and this being delectable country pop. This superb number was an addictive jam with vibrant verses and a uptempo chorus which you feel compelled to sing along to. “I should’a known, I could’a told you you were lying/ Fool me once, fool me twice, oh, stupid me/ I didn’t want to doubt, didn’t want to find out/ But now I know/ Coz you came home with/ Guilty flowers/ Guilty flowers”. Infused to the ending of Guilty Flowers was the 2nd oldie of the evening. This being the blitzing Town Called Ugley. Now this tune was so infectious and plenty of fun filled vibes oozed from it. “So we very very lucky to see the Dixie Chicks in Australia a couple of weeks ago. They did this thing in their set that we thought was really cool so we thought we would copy them. It’s like an acoustic thing. Basically we’re fangirling and copycating. This is our little acoustic session” Catherine said to the audience before they delved into the enchanting Proof. This stripped back tender tune was so spine tingling. Catherine and Lizzy’s fluffy vocals were rather sweet leaving me compelled at the same time. Next it was time for Shine, this Years & Years cover featured on last months A Shorter Story EP. Both Lizzy and Catherine’s vocals were so refreshing and at the same time I was well and truly hypnotised. They made this well known track their own and the result was something incredibly light/ airy.
“We’re going to do another brand new song for you. We’ve kinda worked this special arrangement especially for this tour” Lizzy said to the audience before introducing this exquisite cut as I Believe In You. Now this was an uptempo country/ folk song aided by lovely foot stomping lyrics “I Believe In You/ If you’re lost in the darkness/ I’ll be your light” and candy coated vocals. Both Catherine and Lizzy also divided the audience into Team Poppy (Catherine) and Team Twiggy (Lizzy) for a bit of harmonising “You’re on your way yeah you’re”(Poppy and Twiggy are the name of their dogs). Anyways this newie went down a right treat and it makes me wish album 3 is in my hands right now. After the nerve racking performance of I Believe In You it was then onto something from the Cartwheels record. Who I’m Not was a beautiful ballad, those lyrics left me in an utter daze and both Lizzy and Catherine’s sumptuous vocals resonated plenty of chilled out soothing vibes. Meshed to the ending of Who I’m Not was the fire cracker which was Lose Me. This barn storming song hit me like a full on force, those sumptuous lyrics were rather upbeat “You used me Used me like a ladder/ Like I didn’t matter/ Like I was a card you could play/ So excuse me for moving on without you/ Now that I know how you do/ Anything to win at your game/ But you lose me, you lose me” and the vocals were impeccable. Now this majestical tune was a real epic. “Thank you Guildford for having us. You’ve been the perfect opening show of this tour” Lizzy said before the curtain came down with Carry You Home. This wondrous tune started with Lizzy thinking she messed things up by coming in to early, only she was perfectly on time. So after the restart it was time for Carry You Home. This was a beautiful tune about friendship and being the one that your friend calls out to if things go wrong “When it all comes caving in/ And you can’t be brave again/ Whenever you need a friend, need a friend call me”.
The band then left the stage only to return moments later for a 2 song encore. After plenty of applause it was then time for the enchanting Where The Sky Is. Now everything about this was utter perfection. Catherine and Lizzy’s vocals meshed together sublimely resulting in something that left me in an utter daze. The dreamy Where The Sky Is was faultlessly delivered and it had been perfectly crafted. “Thank you so much for having us, we’ve had such a fun time” Lizzy said before they ended with Push For The Stride. This was a catchy feel good tune which had me moving on the spot. Delivered at an infuriating pace this was an enchanting number which resonated plenty of country vibes.
Dirt & Gold
When It’s Not Me
The Good & The Right
Good On You
Town Called Ugley
I Believe In You
Who I’m Not
Carry You Home
Where The Sky Is
Push For The Stride
OVERALL: This evening was literally phenomenal, Ward Thomas were on fire. Each song played was a classic and it was a real pleasure witnessing the debuts of both Breathe In and I Believe In You.
Now Ward Thomas have something incredibly special, each performance results in a fun filled night and I’m guessing after the Shepherd’s Bush show I’ll have severe withdrawal symptoms.