Having seen Eugene McGuinness support Miles Kane a few months back in Warrington, I was excited to see what he could do when the night belonged to him.

I had liked what he did with a short set and, after giving the album (released the same month) a few listens, I was a fan.

I arrived at the O2 Academy and was disappointed by the turnout, even for a Sunday. He sounded so good when I saw him last and I was annoyed more people weren’t giving this songwriter a chance. Even the people there weren’t adding to the atmosphere.

Eugene came out and opened with ‘Harlequinade’, the same song he opened with in Warrington, but it didn’t have that same kick to it, that same effortless swagger. After the third song started I knew this was just the way the gig was going. He looked uptight on stage. I got the impression it was the showman in him annoyed with the poor attendance, not in an arrogant way but in a totally just I deserve better way.

The set had it’s inevitably high moments with ‘Lion’ and ‘Sugarplum ‘because even played half arsed those are brilliant pop songs ,and there were also a handful of Eugene diehards trying to wake the rest of the room up by singing loudly back at the former Miles Kane guitarist, but it was all in vain.
Along the way, there was a slow number that felt like a chore to sing and was truthfully too high for Eugene.

The first time I saw Eugene McGuinness I was impressed and couldn’t wait to hear the album. The second time I saw him I realised he was an artist with a long way to go.

It was a gig that was tainted from the start. People were really thinking of work the next day.

The photographs that accompany this article were taken for Pennyblackmusic by Marie Hazelwood.

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