ABLE2UK reader reviews our concert!

mystery jets play ABLE2UK concert
mystery jets play ABLE2UK concert Image credit: Matthew Richardson


On Monday evening we were busy staging our own concert in London, so busy in fact we ran a competition last week for somebody to review the event on our behalf.


After sorting through all the entries we decided the person for the job was 21 year-old Sam Ward from Milton Keynes. Here’s his review from the night…


To some people, Monday 20 August 2012 was just an average day. This was not the case for Howard Thorpe. After two years of hard work he had finally put together a concert for disabled awareness at London’s Camden Roundhouse. The night boasted a diverse line-up featuring the likes of Frank Turner, Billy Bragg and Zane Lowe (performing a DJ set) alongside headliners Friendly Fires. 


The tough job of opening the night belonged to Steve Cradock. Kicking off his set before a lot of people had entered the venue it seemed as though it might not be his night. However, this did not faze him as his ability shone through with a great performance, with tracks ‘The Apple’ and ‘On and On’ particularly standing out. He even invited up actor James Buckley (who plays Jay in the Inbetweeners) up to play guitar on one of his tracks.


Miles Kane was next to take to the stage and opened with a rousing version of ‘Rearrange’. This was a sign of things to come as he raced through an energetic set, displaying what an exciting live act he is. Tracks from his 2011 debut album ‘Colour of the Trap’ showcase his artistic creativity and leave the audience impressed at the standard of performance so far.


The night’s first standout performer came in the form of Billy Bragg. Known for making his voice heard over important issues he actively encourages the audience to treat people with any form of disability fairly. The audience really get behind him as he runs through songs ‘Sexuality’ and ‘Waiting For The Great Leap Forward’ before closing his set with a great singalong in the form of ‘A New England. 


Next up were the Mystery Jets, who produce a solid set – something they needed to do after Billy Bragg’s brilliance. Songs from their latest record, 2012’s Radlands, show off their song writing ability as ‘Someone Purer’ and ‘Greatest Hits’ prove to be real crowd pleasers. By this stage the venue has really packed out and it’s great to see the band get the appreciation they deserve. 


Considering many of the other acts on the bill are playing full band sets, you may think their energy would eclipse the next act – Frank Turner. However, from the moment he walks out to begin his solo set the whole venue is singing every word back to him; The only exception to this being a brand new track ‘Least Of All Young Caroline’ as the crowd can only watch and admire some of his finest work. To wrap up his set Frank races through fan favorites ‘I Still Believe’ and ‘Photosynthesis’ as once again the whole room sings along to every word. Even breaking a string in the latter track cannot take away from this truly enchanting performance.


Before headline act Friendly Fires take to the stage, Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe comes out to warm up the crowd. Playing a typically storming set he gets everybody in the room jumping up and down so that by the time the headliners take the stage everyone is prepared.


Before that moment though, organiser Howard Thorpe comes on to make an emotional speech. He details exactly what the night means to him, recalling how he was bullied at school for being different and then going on to dedicate the show to his parents who have stood by him throughout everything.

When headliners Friendly Fires finally take the stage for their set the crowd really begins to go wild. Tearing through tracks such as ‘True Love’ and ‘Pull Me Back To Earth’ the band show exactly why they are renowned for great live performances. Front man Ed Macfarlane never lets the dancing stop as he feeds off energy from everybody in the room. They serve to be a great act to close the event and everyone leaves knowing that not only have they witnessed an impressive night of live music, but they have also helped contribute money to Able2UK’s cause.