Chart-topping country superstars Ward Thomas wrap up their current UK tour at Sage Gateshead.

It’s fair to say that Ward Thomas has witnessed a meteoric rise over the last few years. Back in 2015, the duo performed on the concourse stage of the Summer Tyne Americana festival, since that point the Ward Thomas sisters have headlined the main room of this venue several times. Subsequently, Sage Gateshead has become somewhat of a home away from home for the Hampshire based duo, and as a result, the room is packed to the proverbial rafters this evening to welcome their return.

Ward Thomas recently released their third album Restless Minds, and are subsequently on tour across the UK in support of their latest offering. Each of the three Ward Thomas releases are quite unique in their own way and put forward the different sounds and styles within the band’s repertoire.

Tonight’s show opening is largely drawn from the Restless Minds album, with four of the first five tracks of the setlist taken from the record. This includes the upbeat and somewhat catchy “Lie Like Me”, a funky airing of “Same Love”, a beautiful rendition of “Hopeless” and the heartfelt “Little Girl Sorrow”. By their own admission, the latter of which is one the group’s older tracks but finally found its home on their new record.

Being fiercely proud of their latest Top 10 album, and deservedly so, a large percentage of tonight’s setlist is taken from the release including 14 of the 15 tracks on the album. Of course, the front cover of Restless Minds features an image of the sisters looking down at their own reflections, and tonight’s vast stage production continues with that theme with large mirrored panels adorning the rear wall of the venue beneath a canvas bearing their name.

Mid-set Catherine and Lizzy appear on stage alone as they take the Gateshead audience through a sublime stripped back acoustic set featuring their emotive ballad “Cartwheels” and a harmonious performance of “No Fooling Me”. For the final song of the segment guitarist Billy Adamson joins the sisters on stage during a spellbinding performance of “Deepest You”.

As the full band returns to the stage, Ward Thomas put forward another of their freshest cuts in the shape of “Ain’t That Easy”. With its electro beat, passionate delivery, huge sound and sublime vocal harmonies, the track is the perfect example of contemporary country music at it’s best. This, in turn, is followed by what is potentially the duo’s next single “One More Goodbye”. The latter of which has a real timeless quality to it – a future classic in the making.

Ward Thomas up the ante with a foot-stomping rendition of “I Believe In You” which gets the audience moving, and features a healthy dose of crowd participation. And the North East faithful don’t have to be asked twice to get involved.

For the old school Ward Thomas fans present, a medley of hits from the duo’s debut studio album including crowd-pleasers “Push For The Stride”, “The Good And The Right” and “Town Called Ugley” certainly hits the spot before the focus quickly returns to the new album with the social media-inspired “No Filter” and the main set finale “Never Know”.

A two-song encore featuring a show-stopping performance of “This Too Will Pass” and fan favourite “Carry You Home” brings a thoroughly enjoyable night of British country to its conclusion.

With each album and tour that follows you can really hear Catherine and Lizzy’s growth as not only songwriters but also their creative and musical evolution. Throughout their 18 song set this evening Ward Thomas showcase each of the musical styles in their impressive songbook, which creates an overall structure and very enjoyable flow to the evening.

Ward Thomas continue to fly the flag high for British country music. Tonight they prove that they are more than a match for their US counterparts. There really is no stopping them.

Ward Thomas
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Event Date: 06-April-2019

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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