Alongside his gritty passion and soul stirring lyrics, Louis Berry embraced the stage of The Joiners in Southampton last week. Sharing his music with an intimate crowd of no more than 60 people, this was nothing daunting to a man that had just sold out the o2 arena in his hometown of Liverpool. With an endless line up of festivals including BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, Secret Garden Party, and Bestival, Louis Berry is a name that will undoubtedly be imprinted in the minds of the masses over the months to come.
Evolving his unique sound from rap influences and the reality of growing up stuck somewhere between a rock and a hard place, he performs each song with an obvious conviction. Opening with his original demo track – aptly named .45 – his innocent arrogance on stage makes each raspy line even more authentic than the last. Growling “well I think I would like to play chess with the devil, yes I would like to play cards with the pope” into the microphone, he depicts not only a continuous battle, but a determination that has carried him so far. You only have to appreciate the way that he struts around the stage and stares into the crowd with a purposeful sincerity to realise how much value the words have to Louis himself.
With an Arctic Monkey’s air, Louis and the band are nicely synchronised throughout with electric guitarist Jack performing some impressive solos, and bass guitarist Jesse pulling out the fast fingers with a look of disgusting enjoyment on his face. Not forgetting drummer Dave, holding every beat together in the background. The magnetic energy on stage was evidently mirrored by the crowd, connecting with the music through vigorous dancing, clapping and spilling beer on one another. In upbeat track Give Me What You Want, Louis thrusts his guitar in a frustrated fashion, only seducing the audience further into his heartfelt tales of love, loss and life. Louis’ ability to capture the reality of his experiences and feel it again through each performance is what makes every song all the more purposeful.
As the set list reels on and sweat drips from Louis’ chin, the tempo of the gig follows the lead of the audience. As they get more excited, he brings it down with more of a folky number, Restless to allow everyone to get their breath back. People in the audience reach their arms around each other and sway with the words “don’t you know that I’m just restless baby, without you”. He leaves a little time before notching it straight back up a few levels with a personal favourite, Nicole where heavy rock guitar riffs get everyone jumping around again. Closing the night on a thoughtful note with Rebel where he declares himself as “a very lonely rebel with a very revolutionary mind” sparking the belief that the man standing in front of me could well become one of the most influential voices of our generation.
Behind the misfit persona is an extremely humble guy who has been lead down this path to inevitable greatness through his need to express himself and the troubles that surround him. Having just returned from a month of non stop recording in Nashville, USA, Louis is looking forward to showcase his latest project claiming that “it’s nothing like any of the stuff you’ve heard tonight” and sharing that it touches on subjects of war, poverty and religion which leaves no doubt that he will be reaching inside the minds and hearts of many more people in the future.
Soundcloud link: https://soundcloud.com/louisberry/45-official-audio
Words by: Sarah Morgan For On The Scene Magazine