Maddie & Tae, Frankie Davies - Koko - London
Frankie Davies had the job of opening the evening. It’s always a pleasure to catch up with Frankie who is somewhat overdue in releasing some new output. So as well old favourites like “Dancing All Night”, there were ones that we are waiting to see fully released such as the wonderful “Front Row Seat” about playing to a near empty house which was not a worry tonight, or a new song “All My Love” which came with a funky rhythm that will sound exceptional once filled out with a full band. So well known, is Frankie and the refrain of her song “Shivers” that the audience were already singing it before she had even explained what was required. As ever a sparkling set from Jersey’s finest.
As if the crowd needing anything more to hype them up, using the Brother Osbourne “Ain’t My Fault” as a warm up before taking to the stage was an inspired choice. The audience were already clapping and cheering as the band appeared and continued the rocking theme with “Your Side Of Town”, then into “Right Here Right Now”, and then “Sierra” in what was a quite blistering start. There was to be no pausing for breath as next up was “Waiting On A Plane” merging into The Wallflowers “One Headlight”. Maddie & Tae both in fine form with a gloriously sympathetic mix which really allowed the audience to pick out each instrument and never threatened to overshadow the great vocals.
This though was to be as much about previewing the next album as much as it was about playing familiar songs, and the new songs dovetailed perfectly into the more familiar ones. The first, “We’re Going To Get There” came with a huge almost anthemic chorus, then there was the gentle almost soulful “Why You Looking At Me”, while “Welcome To The Club” during which Tae almost signed out the lyrics while Maddie was singing, about first heartbreak, all whetted the appetite for what is to come later in the year.
There was a cover of Niall Horan’s “Slow Hands” but whereas the cover of “Umbrella” on the previous tours had seemed out of place this seemed to perfectly fit the mood of the night. As a special reward for their UK fans who sung their hearts out throughout the night, there was a new song not yet played in America. The band left the stage and it was just Maddie & Tae on acoustic guitars for the song called “Growing” which the audience listened to with due reverence, that led into their second ‘growing’ song, “The Downside of Growing Up” which was an enormous singalong, causing them to exclaim “This does not usually happen!”. Yet another strong new song “Walk In Her Heels” brought the mini acoustic set to a close with all of the band joining Maddie and Tae in a straight line across the stage.
The final third of the show was simply awesome, kicking off with the riff that signaled the opening of “Smoke”, while the opening chords of “Fly” saw the crowd almost take the roof off. As it finished the band blended into a short version of Coldplay’s “Fix You”, while another new song “Blame It On The Tree” was so catchy it seems destined to be a huge single. The new songs kept coming “Just Fine” being another which had a sassy country feel to it. There then followed a huge drum intro, which was to eventually lead into “Girl In A Country Song” which needless to say took things to another level.
The absolute sign of confidence in your material is when you perform a new song as an encore but no-one was complaining at “Somebody Will” a ballad which had the pedal steel to the fore giving it that extra country feeling to a warning of what will happen if you don’t treat a girl properly. This was an evening that you did not want to end, but if had to, a thundering “Shut Up And Fish” was the way to send us off into the night. This was a hugely impressive performance and anyone thinking that Maddie & Tae were a one album wonder better change their mind, these girls are going to be huge in 2018