Photo Copyright Graham Finney
Talk about contrasts. Last week we were in Doncaster watching a few thousand people rocking out to guitar icon Slash whereas, tonight, we’re in York at the Barbican where the closest this crowd are going to get to anything rock is if they check out the Bon Jovi experience flyer in the foyer. Popular country-pop sisters Ward Thomas are in town for a pleasant, chilled-out evening of country tunes.
In fact, pleasant is the best way to sum up the whole evening starting with support act The Wandering Hearts, apparently a rising name in the country scene and one who seem to have thoroughly enjoyed their brief visit in York. From gentle tracks like Burning Bridges and World Silence to the more upbeat tracks like “Rattle”, everything about this band is so bloody nice. “We’re The Wandering Hearts” they announce before adding “we forgot to say who we are last night so we thought it was important to tell you tonight.”
No such trouble for Ward Thomas who make a rather inconspicuous entrance and into the rather energetic opener “Lie Like Me”. From there on in, the country-pop favourites put on a flawless showing for their fans who nod along appreciatively to every song the band breeze through. Guilty Flower, Same Love and Hopeless get the same response while Little Girl Sorrow elicits a solitary squeal from somewhere in the darkness.
Yes, sometimes you wish everything about tonight wouldn’t have been so bloody nice but you get shaken out of that thought when the sisters are left on stage by their band for acoustic renditions of Cartwheels and a more livelier No Fooling Me. Quite honestly, watching the pair set about their performance, it’s easy to see why they’re so loved across the country scene as, really, they make the whole thing look so effortless.
Continuing through the night with more crowd pleasers like One More Goodbye and This Too Will Pass, tonight proved to me that, while my heart still lies with the loud, chaotic energy of a rock shows, there is definitely a place in it for these two sisters who really were an absolute joy to watch.