Ward Thomas review: ‘One of the UK’s most outstanding country groups’

Ward Thomas at OPEN Norwich. Photo: Danielle Booden

Ward Thomas at OPEN Norwich. Photo: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant

Ward Thomas, with support from The Wandering Hearts, packed out OPEN last night with a show that proved the ever growing popularity of country music in the U.K.

First up was The Wandering Hearts, a London based country-folk-pop quartet, who are following in the footsteps of Ward Thomas, The Staves and The Shires as part of the up-and-coming British Americana scene.

Having seen them perform their headline show at Norwich Arts Centre in November 2018, it was a intriguing to see how their sound would hold up on a much larger stage.

It was not surprising at all that they pulled off another quality performance, perhaps even better than their last Norwich set. When an audience are really drawn into the support act, as they were last night, then it just makes for a great atmosphere and one that the band can really vibe off of.

Their sound was as tight and refined as before - their exquisite harmonies filling every corner of the venue.

Every member of The Wandering Hearts is truly talented, whether that be on their respective instrument or vocally, making them the ideal opening act for the night.

With a performance next weekend on the Spotlight stage of the UK's biggest country music festival, Country to Country Festival, The Wandering Hearts are one to keep your eye on.

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By 9pm, the venue was completely packed full of die hard country music fans waiting eagerly for Ward Thomas to arrive on stage.

After the release of their latest album Restless Minds, the audience were eager to hear the new material performed live by 24-year-old twins Lizzy and Catherine.

As they appeared on stage to their opening music, the audience erupted, cheering and applauding the duo as they arrived on stage.

Opening their set with Lie Like Me from their new album, it was evident that the girls meant business, starting the show off with a bang.

Next, we were thrown back with an older track, Guilty Flowers, before being brought right back up to date with some more of their new music.

The balance of new and old material was perfect and really highlighted the progression the duo have made from Cartwheels to Restless Minds.

The new album is sophisticated and discusses some of the current issues facing young adults - a topic that they both feel very passionate about.

Midway through the set the duo took things down a notch, performing songs like Cartwheels and Deepest You acoustically without the rest of the band.

The set benefited from a raw stripped back segment with the duo giving a performance that felt vulnerable, unwittingly drawing you in.

Their voices are absolutely divine and their harmonies were pitch perfect making it pretty obvious why they have made such a name for themselves.

It was also evident that their musical director had worked hard to put together a show that would be memorable for everyone who had attended. The lights, staging, set list and musical interludes were all very well considered and took the show to a whole new level.

It seemed everyone had enjoyed their Saturday night - beer and country music, what's not to like?

Ward Thomas are one of the UK's most outstanding country groups and are well and truly paving the way for other British acts.

If you still haven't heard of the duo then don't waste any more time, get yourself to one of their shows or buy their album if you can - you won't be disappointed.

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