Day 2 at C2C for our team was hectic as they made the most of the opportunity to speak face to face with subscribers, industry insiders and artists. We started our day off with some live music though as Ward Thomas kicked things off in the Indigo on the Radio 2 stage. They released their latest album on Friday and took the chance to play some of those songs live. A particular highlight was their song ‘Love Does’ as the sisters showed why they’re one of the UK’s crown jewels of country with their incredible harmonies and well crafted songs. They may have been the first act of the day but there were plenty of people who had braved the after-party hangovers and powered through the morning to sing along to their fabulous songs.
It felt like the best of British this morning as we then headed across to the new barrel house stage which is a really cool venue. It has it’s own vibe with the raised booths around the edge and stained glass windows. Opening the live music on that stage was new supergroup First Time Flyers who were energetic and went down well with the London crowd as they kicked things off with ‘Happier’. Not only does this band have an abundance of talent but they gel well as a group and really look the part as well. They will go on to big things no doubt.
After a day filled with catching up with the likes of Pillbox Patti, Willie Jones, Morgan Evans, 49 Winchester, Sam Williams, Adam Doleac, George Birges, Tigirlily Gold, Tyler Booth, Paris Adams and Amanda Shires, we headed to the main arena where Matt Stell began with an energetic set. All the artists so far this year seem to have really taken it up a gear in their live shows as I think artists know not to take it for granted anymore due to what we experienced during the pandemic. Tell and his band got people up on their feet from the off.
Morgan Evans took to the stage after we had spoken backstage. He’s come a long way and achieved a lot since I first saw him at Buckle and Boots all those years ago. Since then his music has taken him to new heights; he shared the stories behind the songs and engaged with the well. He never let the tempo drop so the energy levels stayed high. Over on the spotlights tonight were Drake Milligan who’s been the name on everybody’s lips this weekend as his unique sound captures peoples hearts and Sam Williams who performed an energetic version of ‘Wild Girl’ all kitted out in his sparkly boots and jacket. Many on social media wanted this next band to headline, Midland. Personally, though I thoroughly enjoyed their set they perhaps won’t headline for another year or so. They connected with the audience well and though it goes without saying that people were on their feet singing to ‘Drinking Problem’, most were on their feet singing to every song including the cover of ‘Wicked Game’ which they made their own.
The main event next and, Lady A put on the best headline show I’ve ever seen at C2C – what a way to celebrate ten years of the festival. They opened with ‘Own The Night’. Hillary in a bright, pink sparkly suit called herself Boss Barbie. They went on to perform hit after hit. The band was tight and cohesive as they went into ‘Downtown’. They alternated between playing their most recent releases and going back in time a little to fan favourites such as ‘I Run To You’ and ‘Bartender’. Charles looked well as he, Dave and Slim stripped it back to perform his solo song ‘As Far As You Could’ which was his love letter to Whiskey. A poignant moment came when sang ‘’Cause you took me high but sure as hell brought me down/You put up a good fight but look who’s standin’ now’ and he got to his feet from the stool he’d been sat on and the audience broke out into rapturous applause at the symbolism.
The audience (including myself) was stood up, arms stretched out, belting the words out. When Hillary came back on stage, the trio did a medley of ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’ and ‘Joloene’ which they interpreted very well. Hillary spoke of forcing herself to do something that scares her and at the moment that thing was playing the piano. She took a moment to soak up the spotlight as she merged a popular cover with ‘Just a Kiss’. From there on in, the trio took it up a notch as they performed the energetic rocker, ‘You Loo Good’ and ‘Bartender’. The O2 stamped their feet, clapped their hands and hollered very loudly to demand more from the exiting trio. They returned to the stage and they concluded this part with their mega-hit ‘Need You Now’. They were fantastic, clearly glad to be back together and on the road and the London crowd was buzzing!