Wednesday January 24 saw the return of Hudson Taylor to Bristol for the first time since they toured the UK after the release of their first album ‘Singing for Strangers’ in 2015. The event was completely sold out, with fans of the Irish brothers flocking to The Fleece ready to sing their hearts out to their back catalogue. They were supported by their good friend Little Hours, who warmed up the crowd with his incredible talent, switching between acoustic guitar and piano to create songs which discussed sensitive issues he had experienced. It could be felt by everyone in the room. He had a natural stage presence and an invaluable skill to connect to the audience through his lucid voice and moving music.
Hudson Taylor followed and gave us a better performance than ever before, opening a show which would consist of an array of new music combined with old favourites. There was a surprise for fans, however, with the old songs being given a new jazzy make over. The arrival of Harry and Alfie Hudson-Taylor to the stage, instantly picking up their guitars and singing “Here I am, back in Bristol town….”, to begin their new song ‘Travellin’’, gave everyone the opportunity to establish a personal connection to the band.
The band certainly know how to captivate an audience and you cannot go to one of their concerts without singing along to their songs. Audience participation is a big part of their set and their songs are easy to pick up, so it doesn’t take much teaching before everyone in the room is singing the lyrics back at the stage. However, more often than not, everyone could already recite all the songs word for word, including their latest single ‘Run With Me’, despite it only being released a week and a half earlier on January 12. The brothers had the audience in the palm of their hand, and proved this when they brought the room to complete silence for a couple of minutes to listen to the harmonies of new song ‘One in a Million’ without even the use of a microphone. Little Hours was invited back on stage to join Harry and Alfie for their song ‘Don’t Know Why’, creating a collaboration which caused everyone to surely think the same thing: When will they release a song together?
After introducing the room to some of their new material, the concert shifted to a mass singalong which nobody wanted to end. Coming back on stage for an encore closed by a rousing rendition of ‘Feel It Again’, the boys not only gave dedicated fans a fantastic show, but also undoubtedly recruited new followers in the process.
A slight change in their sound from calm folk to an upbeat funky folk jazz crossover proves that the group have discovered their true sound and are putting everything into making new music. Surely only good things can come their way with a second album scheduled for release later this year, and another as yet unannounced tour which will certainly see them play to bigger and bigger crowds each night.
Hudson Taylor’s new EP ‘Feel It Again’, featuring three new songs ‘Old Soul’, ‘Travellin’’ and ‘One In A Million’, (all of which were played at The Fleece), comes out on March 23, before their second album later this year. Harry and Alfie promised they would return to Bristol some point soon, and after having since been announced for TRNSMT Festival in the summer, there will be plenty of chances to catch them on tour this year. Make sure you witness their incredible show, otherwise you’ll miss out.
by Emily Ford