Artist: George After James & Nick Dow
Date: 3rd February 2020

Location: The Upper Room Basement
Rating: 5/5
Review by: Zoe Mills

“I think my music is pretty wholesome” James chuckles, as he tells me just minutes before his EP “Wait For You” release show was set to start. “Its real. We all go through stuff like pain and loss… we all feel them, but there’s hope in there”.

In the age of picture-perfect popstars, it has become much harder to find genuine and sincere musicians amongst the chaos. Known by his project George After James, James Fistonich has seemingly mastered the art of creating personal and cinematic yet accessible and relatable music. His recent show has exceeded any expectations by proving him as not only a strong musician, but as an incredibly strong performer.

The relatively new venue of the Upper Room Basement provided an interesting space for the bands. The airy, concrete floored warehouse decked out with sofas and an eclectic
mixture of lamps and rugs added to the intimate atmosphere.

Opening performer Nick Dow set the tone for the rest of the night with a stunningly simplistic set – with just him, a keyboard and his impressive range; Dow’s set left the
audience stunned. His impressive storytelling and his poetic lyricism made him an absolute joy to listen to. His opening song “Runaway” provided a beautiful introduction to Dow’s intimate style and song writing.

Following along from Dow, headliners George After James produced a set that was full of energy and had the audience completely enwrapped. Opening with soaring “All Around”, it was clear at the start of the set that the music was intricate and polished.

Backed by a very clean and impressive band, Fistonich is a refreshingly humble front that has managed to deliver pitch-perfect vocals without the over-the-top charisma.

The set demonstrated Fistonich’s versatility as an artist – the anthemic, driving “In Your Hands” and infectious “Still There” provided an electric contrast to the stunningly simple “One I Call Home” and ambient “Rest Easy/Don’t Say Another Word”. A surprising addition to the set was a stripped cover of Twenty-One Pilots’ “Truce” – a warehouse full of people all singing “Stay alive, stay alive for me” was enough to send chills through anybody.

Fistonich is an artist that doesn’t have to rely on gimmicks to pull the audience in. His shy banter with the audience made him all the more relatable and charming.

However, the standout moment of the evening was right after the final track “Wait For You”; an explosive and energetic piece was followed by Fistonich stepping away from the microphone and playing an acoustic rendition of “Amazing Grace” – which the entire audience joined in. It was a stunning and moving end to a night full of polished musicianship and artistry.

Overall, Nick Dow and George After James managed to put together a show that was equal parts moving and personal as it was fun and packed with energy. I feel pretty lucky to have seen them live before their likely hugely successful careers take off.

Check out the band’s website at: www.georgeafterjames.com.

ZOE MILLS is feisty, always up for debate and smashing down the patriarchy. Zoe is a politics nerd with a huge passion for social justice.

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