WORDS WILL MAXWELL / IMAGES JOE JONES
The Atlanta, Georgia native started his music career performing in various bands before he found his big break in 2019. His covers of various songs such as Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” (134 million YouTube views and counting) and Mario‘s “Let Me Love You” (95 million views) went viral, and it’s on the strength of his online following that he can sell out shows like this even though he is yet to release his debut album. He’s also released a plethora of original tracks showcasing his ability to blend genres such as pop, soul and R&B to make his own signature sound.
Tonight’s support act is Azure Ryder. Joined by just an acoustic guitarist, her gentle, delicate voice and demeanour are well-appreciated by the crowd. At times she seems taken aback by this but she more than deserves the love that’s being shown to her. A gorgeous cover of Fleetwood Mac‘s Dreams more than warms up the crowd for what’s to come.
Flanked by his backing band Freak Freely, Teddy Swims receives a hero’s welcome as he takes to the stage. It’s a funky start and “911”, “For the Rest of Your Life” and “Broke” has everyone dancing and grooving away.
The place is absolutely packed and I find myself practically pinned against the bar – how convenient! There are somehow around 1800 of us crammed into this beautifully refurbished, former Methodist Church. The daylight that’s pouring through the stained glass windows naturally illuminates the whole room only adding to the positive energy that’s reverberating around this historic building. The high stage and the close proximity of the upstairs balcony allow for some personal interactions with the audience, opportunities that he takes throughout the evening.
A cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin”‘ has everyone singing at the top of their voices, but it’s clear Teddy’s fans aren’t just here for the covers. They have fully invested in him, with “What More Can I Say”, “Dose” and “Til I Change Your Mind” keeping them moving.
A member of the band is wearing a Manchester City shirt. When Teddy points this out, they both seem a little taken aback by the almost universal boos! “I’m more of a Man United guy” he says, somewhat unconvincingly.
“I only write songs about two things – love and crying about losing it” he says introducing “Two Moods”, while “Lose Control” shows off his powerful, soulful voice.
Most of the band leave the stage, allowing for a more intimate performance as he’s backed by just an acoustic guitar. This is where he really shines and is able to show off his incredible voice – raspy, radiant, soothing and note perfect. He opens up about the meaning of songs like “You Look So Good In Love”, “Simple Things” and the brand-new track “Some Things I’ll Never Know”. Laying bare his vulnerabilities only strengthens his connection with the audience and gives us even more appreciation for these emotion-packed songs.
The beautiful ballad “Amazing” and “You’re Still the One” are standout moments, before the band return and finish the set with the anthemic “Bed on Fire”.
This was a sensational performance that proved he is not just a social media star but a bonafide music artist in his own right. His debut album I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy (Part One) will be released in September and I can only see it elevating his career to new heights.
2/ For the Rest of Your Life
4/ Don’t Stop Believing
5/ What More Can I Say
7/ Til I Change Your Mind
8/ Devil In A Dress
9/ Someone Who Loved You
10/ 2 Moods
11/ The Plan
12/ Lose Control
13/ You Look So Good In Love
14/ Some Things I’ll Never Know
15/ Simple Things
17/ You’re Still The One
18/ All That Really Matters
19/ Bed on Fire
FOLLOW TEDDY SWIMS
FOLLOW AZURE RYDER
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.