Music Reviews

An air of vulnerability, closeness and fan interaction – Live Review: Lewis Capaldi @ Rough Trade

Izzy Morris

The last time Lewis Capaldi visited Nottingham, he was surrounded by a chorus of thousands upon thousands of fans, singing all of his chart-topping ballads straight back to him at the Motorpoint Arena. But this time, his Nottingham fan contingent (including Impact’s Izzy Morris!) got the chance to hear from him somewhere much more intimate – The Level, based within Nottingham Trent’s campus in the City Centre. 

Coming off the back of the release of his sophomore album ‘Broken By Desire to Be Heavenly Sent’, Capaldi has been travelling around the country for a laid-back album release Q&A based tour – an entirely different experience to the spectacle of an arena performance. This style of visit promised an air of vulnerability, closeness and fan interaction that’s not quite as possible in those enormous settings. 

Fans gathered in swathes before the gig, queueing up for the best spot in the heat. Even though this Q&A form of appearance is quite novel, and fans didn’t necessarily know what to expect from it, they were all ready to get the chance to hear from the man himself. Capaldi has been known for his humility and approachability, both through his deeply emotional lyrics and his unique brand of humour. 

Capaldi [never takes] himself too seriously, referring to writer’s block as ‘mental erectile dysfunction’

This vulnerability and earnestness completely shone through from the moment he entered the stage. He repeatedly stated how grateful he is for the album’s positive reception, and for the fact that so many people were so eager to hear from him. In true Capaldi style though, this sincerity was regularly interspersed with hilariously dry and sardonic comments and observations that we’ve come to expect from him.

At no point does Capaldi ever take himself too seriously, referring to writer’s block as ‘mental erectile dysfunction’ and making delightfully clumsy golf analogies, noting that he ‘hits it best when he’s not thinking’. But at the same time, he was able to share insightful anecdotes about the new album, such as the experience of playing in America and how that influenced some of the tracks such as How I’m Feeling Now, as well as his feelings of satisfaction with tracks like The Pretender and Wish You The Best, two tracks that are proving to go down incredibly well with listeners already. 

The floor was then opened to fan questions, the first of which immediately matched the wonderfully chaotic energy that Capaldi embodies – ‘What’s your favourite sex position?’ 

Let’s just say I’m glad the crowd aren’t Impact journalists. 

There were also some less absurd questions, such as ‘How do you deal with Tourette’s on a bad day?’ from a member of the audience with the same condition. ‘Welcome to the club.’ Before admitting that there were challenges with the disorder that he struggled to understand, Capaldi admitted that on hard days, the only solution is to lie in a dark room and ride them out. 

Joined by the crowd who, despite how new these songs are, all knew the words

He also shared his love for Paulo Nutini, an inspirational force for Capaldi growing up, as well as for his brother, who he remarked got all the attractive genes, meaning he didn’t have to be a good singer. 

We then got to enjoy his stellar voice with performances of The Pretender, and Wish You The Best. Whether emotional ballads are your style or not, there’s no denying that this man has an incredible voice. His gorgeous tone filled the room, joined by the crowd who, despite how new these songs are, all knew the words. When it came to his final song, the classic Someone You Loved, he invited his fans to join in, wrapping up a beautifully collective experience. 

It’s great to see Rough Trade make accommodations for these large artists, allowing them to access their fans in similar ways to the signing events that take place upstairs. I hope to see more of these Q&A style events going forward, bringing a variety of stars to Nottingham.

Izzy Morris

Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of @lewiscapaldi via No changes were made to this image.

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