Live: Freya Ridings / Tors / Ewan J Phillips

Headliner Freya Ridings (Picture: Paul Hampson)
Headliner Freya Ridings (Picture: Paul Hampson)

UEA, Norwich October 7, 2023

by Mariana Monteiro

It’s a darker evening than it has been lately, as autumn is upon us, but that doesn’t stop an early crowd lining up ready to spend a Saturday night in good company.

Ewan J Phillips, accompanied only by his keyboard, delivers some ballads to get things under way. Songs such as The Art Of Letting You Go, Faithless and I Wish I Was The Moon make for an engaging set, despite some technical difficulties at the start and some heckling.

He finishes with the recently released Icarus, which goes down well and sets the tone for what comes next.

Setting the tone: Ewan J Phillips (Picture: Paul Hampson)
Setting the tone: Ewan J Phillips (Picture: Paul Hampson)

Tors immediately grab attention thanks to the Devon band’s humour as well as their songs.

Still Life and Amsterdam have people waking up for the night, and the ambience in the venue changes to one of excitement, especially with the band’s constant taunts and jokes amongst themselves and with us.

Tors: Waking up the neighbours (Picture: Paul Hampson)
Tors: Waking up the neighbours (Picture: Paul Hampson)

Freya Ridings opens with Dancing In A Hurricane with her incredible band beside her for her first show in these parts for years.

And there’s some vulnerability on display from the star. She opens up about how she’s glad tonight isn’t rowdy, as she has anxiety despite having been in the industry for years.

Freya Ridings shows her vulnerable side (Picture: Paul Hampson)
Freya Ridings shows her vulnerable side (Picture: Paul Hampson)

She weaves between upbeat songs such as Bite Me and Blood Orange and ballads such as Poison and Ultraviolet, her speciality. But what brings it all together is how her incredible vocals and meaningful lyrics command full attention throughout.

Part of her set is with her full band, including a violin and a brass section, but there are also some solo moments when she’s on stage with just her piano.

The singer mesmerises all night (Picture: Paul Hampson)
The singer mesmerises all night (Picture: Paul Hampson)

The encore starts with Lost Without You, which was her first charting single – her biggest hit to date – and the launchpad for her subsequent success, before Castles brings things to a brilliant end.

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