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Morganway review: An incredible local band that are making a well-deserved name for themselves in the country music scene

PUBLISHED: 14:20 16 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:20 16 March 2019

Morganway headlining Epic Studios in Norwich. Photo: Danielle Booden

Morganway headlining Epic Studios in Norwich. Photo: Danielle Booden

Danielle Booden

Hot off the back of multiple performances at this year's Country to Country Festival in London, Morganway returned to Norwich to perform a hometown gig at Epic Studios last night.

Red Dear supporting Morganway at Epic Studios in Norwich. Photo: Danielle BoodenRed Dear supporting Morganway at Epic Studios in Norwich. Photo: Danielle Booden

First up on the night was local act (The) Red Dear. It was an interesting set, something that wasn’t particularly my cup of tea - not to say that others wouldn’t enjoy their music.

They were a little stagnant on stage and didn’t always seem like they were enjoying their performance, even if perhaps they were. If you like bands who are engaging in a more experimental sound then they may well be for you. The guitarist used a violin bow on his guitar on several occasions and strange sound effects played over the speakers during their songs.

With a bit more work in tightening their sound and a little more enthusiasm on stage they could find their place within the niche market they seem to be aiming for.

The second support for the evening was indie folk group Chalky Seas, another local group from Norwich.

Their performance was really together and they sounded like they had put a lot of effort into practicing and rehearsing their set.

Chalky Seas supporting Morganway at Epic Studios in Norwich. Photo: Danielle BoodenChalky Seas supporting Morganway at Epic Studios in Norwich. Photo: Danielle Booden

Chalky Seas have a sound that often echoed the likes of Biffy Clyro and Snow Patrol and were really enjoyable to watch - they even managed to draw a bit more of a crowd through from the bar.

The lead singer’s vocals were really lovely and he should definitely have more confidence in his ability - likewise with the other members who did a great job of harmonising with the lead melody.

It was a shame that the drummer did all of the interaction from the back of the stage between songs. It would have been great to see some of the other members also speaking to the audience, even if only briefly, rather than it being left to the drummer who you often couldn’t see behind the others.

It was also disappointing that a large amount of the audience didn’t come through from the bar to watch them perform. I believe that it’s really important to show support for the opening acts who have worked just as hard in preparation for the show and are deserving of people taking the time to listen.

With a bit more work on their stage presence and perhaps throwing in a few more upbeat songs, Chalky Seas definitely have potential.

Morganway headlining Epic Studios in Norwich. Photo: Danielle BoodenMorganway headlining Epic Studios in Norwich. Photo: Danielle Booden

Finally, it was time for Morganway, the band everyone had been waiting for. By the time the six-piece were due on stage, the audience had all filtered into the main stage area, ready with their drinks in hand.

Having been lucky enough to catch one of their performances at Country to Country Festival (C2C), the UK’s biggest country music festival in London, I was more than excited to be able to hear their full set.

They didn’t disappoint whatsoever, performing a whole range of tracks from their various EPs - some of which were musically very strong indeed.

Older tracks like Devil’s Canyon and Hurricane had the audience dancing and singing along to the music whilst their recent single Frozen In Time saw the audience fall silent, captivated by what is a really beautiful song.

SJ Mortimer’s vocals are mindblowingly incredible and regularly gave me goosebumps. She’s an absolute powerhouse and can go from belting out notes with incredible precision to singing soft quiet melodies within seconds.

Morganway headlining Epic Studios in Norwich. Photo: Danielle BoodenMorganway headlining Epic Studios in Norwich. Photo: Danielle Booden

All of the other members did a fantastic job of providing harmonies, with the great addition of solo vocals from guitarist Callum Morgan in a few of their songs.

With great performances also from Nicole J Terry on the violin, Matt Brocklehurst on the keyboard, Edward Bullinger on drums and Kieran Morgan on lead guitar - each and every one brings their own talent to the band and plays their part in what was an outstanding gig.

Morganway are an incredible local band that are making a well-deserved name for themselves in the country music scene.

With accolades from country phenomenon Bob Harris, two nominations from the BCMA awards, support slots with The Shires and an Under The Apple Tree session all supported by an incredible live performance, there is no doubt that Morganway are heading on a skyward trajectory.

You only have to see the crowd they pulled in at both last night’s Norwich show and their recent London C2C sets to know that their popularity is ever growing and it seems like nothing will stop them from achieving great success.

Everyone in the audience last night were very lucky to see Morganway performing in such an intimate venue as I don’t think it will be long before they are playing much larger stages and venues.

• For more Norwich music check out our dedicated page every Thursday in the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News or follow Enjoy Music More on Twitter and Instagram

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