Manchester boy band Rixton have had one massive year: headlining their own debut UK tour, supporting doughnut-licker Ariana Grande on her world tour, releasing their debut album Let the Road to high critical acclaim, and most recently supporting Ed Sheeran on his sold-out tour of North America.
And after all that, Jake, Charley, Danny and Lewi last night (9th July) headlined a charity gig, courtesy of Andrews Sykes, at the IndigO2 inside London’s O2 Arena for one night and one night only.
There were four support acts, two in the form of competition winners, one West End star and a former The Voice contestant. First up was Jerusha Afia who had won a competition put on by the charity to find two acts to support Rixton. She nervously walked onto the stage, surrounded by instruments awaiting their players later on. She took centre stage, held her mic and belted out two of Beyoncé’s biggest hits – ‘Halo’ and ‘Listen’. Her voice was incredible; it is notoriously difficult to cover a Queen B track, but Afia did so to perfection.
Next up were fellow competition winners San Agila, a rock ‘n’ roll band from South-East London. Their stage presence needs work, but if they improve that, there could be no stopping this young group. The two songs they played were great – upbeat, catchy, full of energy – and really got the crowd bopping up and down.
The penultimate support act was a star of the West End smash hit Thriller. Zuriel Kabasomi-Williams plays the young Michael Jackson in the stage show and brought all of his talent to the stage of Indigo. His first song, ‘I Want You Back’ was easily his best of the two he sang. If you closed your eyes you could be forgiven for thinking it was a reincarnation of the real thing – he was that good.
Then, Autumn Sharif took the last supporting spot of the evening. The 19-year old was part of Team Ricky during the fourth series of The Voice. The London native was knocked out of the show at the quarter-final stage. Her performance was okay, no better than that. She came across as slightly too arrogant, but her voice was good. She performed a few of her own songs before finishing with a cover of Paramore’s ‘Ain’t It Fun’, which arguably was the song which went down the best with the crowd.
Finally, it was the turn of the Mancunians. The boys took to the stage to hundreds of screams from adolescent teenage girls, splitting the ears of parents and others around them.
They opened with the second single from their album, ‘Wait On Me’, which the band have admitted to being their favourite song to perform live. From the off, frontman Jake Roche was full of energy – dancing, punching and kicking the air, encouraging noise from their adoring fans. I have genuinely never seen anyone put so much into a performance, his enthusiasm and passion for what he does is second-to-none.
Rixton are at that weird phase of fame where they are known worldwide, for their biggest hits, but still only play smaller, more intimate venues. But you won’t see me complaining: this means an up-close personal performance, where everyone in attendance knows all the words. This creates a truly great atmosphere.
The second song performed was the first track they released a video for on their YouTube Vevo account – ‘Make Out’. Despite Roche saying in my interview with the band back in November that he wishes they hadn’t released it, it still remains a firm crowd favourite. Up next was the third track on Let the Road, ‘Appreciated’. This ballad brought down the energy slightly for a well-earned breather, but not before Roche encouraged everyone in attendance to hug someone they’d never met and tell them they’re appreciated.
Rixton made their name and were recognised by doing their own versions of popular hits and putting the videos on YouTube. They put their own spin on hits such as ‘Ignition (Remix)’, ‘Thong Song’ and ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ before being picked up by talent scout guru Scooter Braun. As a result they like to acknowledge their roots by performing a mashup of covers during their live shows and last night the Indigo crowd were treated to a ‘Fine China/Uptown Funk/Crazy In Love’ medley.
Then the boys brought down the lights to thank everyone for coming and to explain that their next song, ‘Hotel Ceiling’, was co-written with non other than Ed Sheeran, the man they had just finished touring with. Everyone’s heart skipped a beat however when Roche shouted at the top of his voice: “So, for one night, and one night only, please welcome Mr. Ed Sheeran!” Only there to be no sign of a ginger man with an acoustic guitar. Dick move Roche, dick move.
The set finished with their current single ‘We All Want The Same Thing’ and their debut, number one hit ‘Me And My Broken Heart’, which everyone sang along to as loud as they possibly could.
These four boys never fail to amaze me. Their talent, enthusiasm, energy and passion for what they do astounds me. But what stands out the most is that you can tell that they’re just four really nice, down-to-earth guys who really are the best of friends. There are no gimmicks when they’re on stage, just pure energy and fun. If you ever get the chance to see them live, I urge you to not pass up on the opportunity as I personally guarantee that you will not be disappointed.