C2C 2023: Brian Collins - ICON Stage
It's amazing to trace Brian Collin's journey in the UK over the last few months, from relative unknown prior to his support slot on the Kezia GIll UK tour, to now Beloved Entertainer on the various C2C stages. #TEAMw21's review team had hot footed it from the Town Square Stage and as we left the top escalator the sound reaching us was not just Brian's singing "Enjoy The Ride", but that of the assembled audience. Such is the rapport that has been built over the last few months that Brian has truly made an impact on the UK Americana scene. The second tune "The Finer Things" once again sees the audience playing their part, here providing percussion via their clapping and for a few moments Brian's vocals bring a warm summery feel to the proceedings rather than the chilly breeze that is running through the upper levels of the shopping outlet where the ICON stage is situated.
Brian's introduction to "You Only Got One", jokingly laughed off the fact that he had made someone cry at an earlier performance, however I'm assured that this did in fact occur. If it was not just the sentiment of the words or the quality of the performance, it could easily have been the excellent guitar work from Rockwell Jacobs which really contributed to the overall atmospherics that brought tears to the eyes. Such was the siren like ability of the song that even the shopkeeper to the side of the stage abandoned her position to see what was making this wonderful noise.
It was time for Brian to put on his harmonica for "You Wear That Whiskey Well" which seemed to cast another spell over the onlooking crowd, who were unable to stand still breaking out into something we'll have to call the Colllins Shuffle - it was a sight to see a country audience really finding their groove and involuntarily dancing! It can only be something in Brians voice because the story he tells, the picture he paints on "Harder I Run" seems to transport us from the monumental surroundings of consumerism and places us temporarily in the land of creeks where birds are singing.
The final chance for audience and performer to bond came with "Shine A Little Love" introduced with the air of a Preacher talking to his congregation, whipping them up into a frenzy, The results were heartwarming with the crowd mouthing the lyrics and along with Rockwell's additional backing vocals it brought the curtain down on Brian's C2C performances, which can only be rated as an unqualified success.
Such was the fervour generated over the weekend that seemingly the only question being asked of Brian afterwards was "When will you return?"