The stage is set in the grand Bush Hall, with its chandeliers and elegant Edwardian decoration, the former dance hall is the perfect place to be serenaded by Adam Hender’s crooning love ballads. Opening with debut single ‘One Chance’, its raucous introduction lets the audience know exactly where their attention should be; as Adam walks out he’s met with rapturous applause. In the short months since Adam was introduced, it’s clear he’s already gained a strong and loyal following. It’s his first ever London show and the room is full.
The show is the second stop on Adam’s debut headline tour, one which will see him play a humongous hometown show at Llandudno’s 1400 capacity Venue Cymru, following on from last nights sold-out show in Manchester. With only three singles released to date, it’s baffling how quickly Adam’s gained such a huge following.
He’s a little nervy as he makes his first introduction to the audience, as it’s clear he’s taken aback by the crowd, but they’re all on his side. As he and the band progress through their nine song set, Adam comes further out of his shell with his in between speech. All the while, during the performance of the songs, he gives it his all. In terms of stage presence, it’s the songs that do the talking.
Early highlights are ‘Gone’, with it’s moody tone and powerful backing it allows Adam to give it some of his on-stage swagger. The band are dressed in black and stay in the background for the entirety of the show, letting Adam take the full, captivated attention of the room. This is followed by ‘Nothing In Between’. In contrast to the previous two songs, it starts as a delicate ballad consisting of just piano and vocals. The chorus then gorgeously features layers of ethereal guitar whilst Adam demonstrates his falsetto range, and from here the song starts to build into its eventual raucous crescendo. With gospel-like backing vocals, and pumping almost tribal-like drums the song creates magnificent tension, which holds for the majority of the track. The eventual release comes with a sing along inducing vocal line, which Adam manoeuvres the crowd into doing as the band reaches the climax of the song. It’s a powerful moment and a song that you can already picture at the arena level.
Halfway through the set after the most sway-able tune so far ’All I Can Say’, Adam gave the crowd a preview of his upcoming single ‘I Don’t Mind’. One of the major highlights of the evening, and in my opinion the song with the biggest chorus of the night, the crowd were in or a treat hearing the song live before it’s February 28th release date. A masterclass in raw and heartfelt pop songwriting, ‘I Don’t Mind’ had a chorus that was so catchy I continued to hum it in my head throughout my journey home. It’s another moment in the set where you find yourself picturing the performance on an even grander scale, yet another example of Adam’s stadium ready sound.
What followed was a moment where Adam could really connect with the crowd. Performing the first track he self released before getting signed, ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ saw Adam strip it down to just him and his acoustic guitar. It showed another side to Adam as a performer and songwriter; offering an insight into how, I presume, most of his songs start out before they’re transformed into stadium ready anthems. It’s perhaps the song that showcases Adams full vocal range the best of the night.
Bringing the energy back up with performances of new track ‘Dead In The Water’ and the ballad ‘Sick’, Adam brings the set to a climactic close with the latest single ‘Burn’. Released in November last year it received its debut air time on Radio 1’s ‘Best New Pop’ show, and has already racked up well over 100,000 streams on Spotify. It’s a fitting close to the set, with Adam on acoustic guitar and the band in full swing, the crowd can’t help but sway and sing along to this last stirring ballad. We hope it won’t be long until Adam returns to London, and can’t wait to see at what level he’ll be playing at by then. The only way is up for Adam Hender and it’s clear if he continues this already astronomical rise he’s experienced in the last 6-months, it won’t be long before he’ll be performing in the arenas his songs were made for.