Aaron Watson @ The Borderline, London by Claire Weston
“It’s not about the fame and fortune. It’s about the music” Texas country singer Aaron Watson said during his set, to a sold out crowd at London’s Borderline.
Backed by a full band, he kicked off the set with ‘Freight Train’. Going straight into the second song ‘Real Good Time’, Cambridge-born band member Damian Green really had a chance to shine on the fiddle. Despite some early hick ups with on-stage sound, Aaron and his band were outstanding during the entire night.
There were many songs from his latest album, 2015’s The Underdog, in the set, including ‘Getaway Truck’, ‘That Look’, ‘That’s Why God Loves Cowboys’ and my personal favourite ‘Wildfire’, the latter of which had everyone clapping along. This is an album that was self-funded and self-released, with no label backing, and went straight to number one.
I’m not sure whether it’s the choice to stay independent, but the show had a different vibe to a lot of other concerts i’ve been to. Aaron shared his favourite moments of the last year – getting to be at his daughter’s ballet recital, his son’s developing guitar skills, and getting to dedicate a song to his wife on stage at The Grand Ole Opry. There were anecdotes of Frozen singalongs with his daughter, and of his own personal heartbreak. He also commented on how grateful he was for his fans because it helps him provide for his family. It felt a lot more personal.
Aaron responded to fans throughout the night. He included ‘3rd Gear and 17’ in the set after a tweet request earlier in the day, and when someone shouted out to play ‘Shut Up and Dance’ because it was their wedding song, he added that in too.
The band looked like they were having just as much fun as the audience, and the entire set was filled with energy and enthusiasm. When one of Aaron’s guitar strings broke part way through a song, he mimed a little air guitar while it was being fixed, and said he felt very lost singing without playing a guitar, even for just a few minutes.
The final few songs of the night included ‘Fence Post’ and ‘Reckless’. With a career that spans more than 14 years, Aaron was nothing short of exceptional. He chose to carry on playing instead of going off stage for an encore, and explained that he didn’t think fans should have to beg for more songs. I’ve never felt so appreciated as an audience member.
Speaking to Think Country earlier this week (you can read the interview here – https://thinkcountry.co.uk/interviews/aaron-watson/), Aaron said “I want everyone who bothered to buy a ticket to drive home and think – that was money well spent” I definitely did! He said that the UK will become a permanent stop on his tours in the future, and i already can’t wait to see him return!