Photo Copyright © Graham Finney
It’s almost December and all talk is now of Christmas and the all-important Christmas Party. Kicking things off, for one weekend in November, Hits Radio put on their Christmas Party inviting some of the top names in pop to party in Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester. While undoubtedly all eyes are on Manchester on Sunday night where Little Mix and Cheryl are set to perform, Liverpool made sure Christmas party season started in style with a night headlined by George Ezra.
Before that though, there was a whole raft of top acts to keep the crowd entertained and dancing in their seats and aisles. First up was DJ Jax Jones who, everywhere we turn he is there, we’re wondering if he is stalking TotalNtertainment around the gig circuit.
The infectious Sigrid is next up and is a joy to watch on stage. She’s a bit quirky, she’s full of energy and her songs just stick in your head from the first minute. She’s was all bouncy back stage before the show and, as she grabbed the night by the scruff of the neck. It’s great to see all of that energy and quirkiness transfer into a brilliant live set.
One thing confuses us about Tom Walker, while his hit single “Leave A Light On” is one of the biggest hits of the year, the singer-songwriter seems to still be low down on bills like this one. With each act only afforded a couple of songs, Walker is all smiles and, quite frankly, if there is a more jaw-dropping sight them watching him perform that hit single to a packed, illuminated arena, we’re yet to see it. Astonishing!
Rita Ora had appeared down the road a few hours earlier to sign copies of her new album Phoenix to hundreds of fans. Those fans who queued up to meet the pop princess have been joined by thousands more to make one hell of a noise when she arrives on stage at the Echo Arena. She’ll be hitting this very stage as part of her Arena tour in 2019 but, for now, this all-to-brief red hot taster of what’s to come in 2019 has made those dates from the former X-Factor judge ones not to miss.
I have to admit we knew very little about James Hype before his set but we seemed to be in the minority as the DJ had the Echo Arena crowd bouncing with an energetic, pyro-drenched set. Throwing himself off the top of his decks on more than one occasion, Hype put pay to the misconception that all DJ’s do is sit behind a deck pressing a few buttons.
Earlier this Summer, Jess Glynne was one of the highlights of the awesome Fusion Festival pop weekender which took place in Liverpool and, today, she put in another top level performance. Wearing a boiler suit open to the waist, the singer gyrated around the stage turning up the temperature in the Echo Arena with a set of dance routines that could certainly be described as attention-grabbing.
Rak-Su are one of those acts who, despite winning X-Factor last year, have never really kicked on from that success. Still, one thing you’re guaranteed from the multi-cultural act is that their live show can definitely be classed as a party. Using every inch of the stage, the quartet were everything modern pop is all about and while they may have the expectation from winning X-Factor around their necks, the smiles on their face and their high energy set demonstrated they’re certainly not ready to be cast to the pile of forgotten former X-Factor success stories.
Two weeks ago, we were jammed into the Mountford Hall about a mile away from the Echo Arena where tonight’s headliner, George Ezra was rocking out to a sold-out crowd of no more than a thousand people. Tonight, Ezra had this entire arena rocking from the moment he kicked off his headline set. While we had some doubts as to how he would command some of the sizeable arenas he’ll be playing on his headline tour next year, watching the hold he had over this crowd during Blame It On Me, showed that not only was he the perfect headliner for Radio City Hits Live 2018 but that he will absolutely slay these very same venues next year.