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Joshua Radin – Live @ Barfly

Joshua Radin performs a one-off UK show at the intimate Camden Barfly, as part of HMV’s ‘The Next Big Thing’ 2010 Festival – a series of concerts across established London venues that offer showcases by hotly-tipped artists.

Joshua Radin‘s delicate, acoustic pop-songs have already made him quite the household name over in The States. Radin only decided to pursue a musical career six odd years ago, and was immediately launched into the limelight after his friend Zack Braff featured his first composition ‘Winter’ on an episode of Scrubs (it’s all about who you know, ay!). Radin‘s songs have since been featured on a multitude of hit US shows (One Tree Hill, American Idol, Grey’s Anatomy), and both his 2006 debut album ‘We Were Here‘ and his 2008 sophomore album ‘Simple Times‘ have performed respectably, both with critics and in the US charts. Us Brits, however, have been slow to notice Radin (despite the fact that episodes of Scrubs play all day, everyday on UK TV), perhaps due to the delayed release of ‘Simple Times‘ over here.

Opening up this evening’s showcasing is ‘The Boy Who Trapped The Sun‘ (or The Boy as he is affectionately known) from Scotland. As The Boy and his female companion take to the stage, the bulk of the crowd is sat cross-legged on the floor, giving a peaceful, jazz-bar kind of vibe. His comparisons to Damien Rice are obvious (especially since he is backed by a female singer/cellist), but The Boy’s delightful folk music is rather more wistful than Rice‘s, and predominantly angst-free. Next up is London-based singer/songwriter Alan Pownall, who offers the Barfly a more melancholic breed of acoustic music. With hardly a word in between songs, he performs a short set of meditative tunes, studying the crowd with his solemn and serious stare. At times, his song structures recall Jack Johnson, but where Johnson‘s bog-standard delivery lacks any emotional depth, Pownall sings with such conviction that you believe every word of every song.

The high calibre of the support gets the evening off to a very enjoyable start, albeit with a rather laidback and peaceful tone. All that changes once Joshua Radin takes to the stage. Unlike the majority of the UK’s singer/songwriters, whose stage presence tends to be equal parts moody, brooding and forgettable, Radinpossesses the kind of charisma a rock-star exudes. Flashing charming smiles, he playfully interacts with the crowd throughout the show. Tonight’s short set consists of material mainly from ‘Simple Times,’ including ‘One Of Those Days,‘ ‘You Got Growin‘ Up to Do‘ and the single ‘I’d Rather Be With You‘. The highlights come with a gentle, solo rendition of first album standout track ‘Winter,’ and with the unveiling of a new song (with which the crowd are quick to learn the words to, and sing enthusiastically back at Joshua).

Although his whispery voice is exceptionally memorable, Joshua Radin is not doing anything new or groundbreaking. What marks him out is not so much his pop-tinged folk, but his jolly deliverance and amiable performance. Whereas most folk-singers take them selves a little too serious, Radin jokes between songs and explains the stories that influence his lyrics. Rivmixx tends to leave acoustic gigs feeling slightly glum, but Joshua Radin‘s chirpy persona injects some fun and excitement into his folk, ensuring everyone leaves smiling from ear-to-ear.

Photo by: bpmuzik

Originally published by Rivmixx here

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~ by cliveparisrozario on February 10, 2010.

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