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Live Review: Paul Draper at O2 Academy, Oxford (7/3/18)

To make up forrrr… whatever the Nottingham gig was Paul Draper personally messaged me and offered me and my Dad to go on the guest list for the show in Oxford to make up for it. Which was a really nice gesture I think after what had happened, and he was very apologetic. Now, I’ve been seeing rave reviews for his performances all over Twitter which made me want to travel the 2 hours to Oxford to see him as I was still eager to see Attack of The Grey Lantern in full.

As a heads up, if you’re planning on visiting the O2 Academy, Oxford then plan an alternate means of transport to a car. Because parking in the area is an absolute nightmare! Luckily we managed to find a parking spot outside some shops across the road and managed to get in just before the show started. Sol was the support act again, and my opinion still remains that he’s a phenomenally talented singer and can of course write songs, but I’d quite like to see a full band around him because just him by himself doesn’t quite work for me.
Nonetheless, the time came for Mr Draper to take to the stage with his band to perform songs from his latest album, Spooky Action, and it’s safe to say that this album was made to fill arenas. “Don’t Poke The Bear” is a monumental opener, an extended intro to build up until it was time to burst into life and it was clear to see that the band were on it tonight, putting out a performance of a lifetime and leaving everything on stage. The first sets highlights, though, lied within Paul Draper’s vocals on “Friends Make The Worst Enemies” which he matched note for note, arguably better than the version on the CD, so much so that people began to clap halfway through the performance!

He perfected 8 or 9 songs before stating that he’ll be “back in 10 minutes to perform Attack of The Grey Lantern”. And I have to say, I would have been happy just with the solo stuff, as I missed his solo tour last year I loved every second of the first performance of the night, probably more so than a lot of the room.

They all returned to the stage, as the intro to “The Chad Who Loved Me” began ringing around the venue, that intro is probably one of my favourite build ups to a song ever and it was majestic to hear it played live, and it’s safe to say that Paul Draper’s voice has aged like a fine wine, hitting every single note with such ease.
It was also fun to hear all of the little transitions between tracks that take place on Attack of The Grey Lantern, it’s always nice to see such attention to detail with things like this, and that’s certainly what we got as classic such as “Wide Open Space”, “Taxlo$$” & “Dark Mavis” were throw at the crowd one after another. Draper even joked that he ran out of words at the end of the albums as the La-Las supposedly make evident.

This was one hell of a night in Oxford and Attack of The Grey Lantern has genuinely never sounded better than it did that night, how truly special a night this was. I can't wait to hear Six played in full on the next tour and the following second album will round that off.


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