Last Tuesday, Josh Rouse played an intimate solo acoustic gig at The Lock Tavern in Camden, London. The free admission show, which had only been announced two days earlier, was an unexpected treat for fans like myself, who are eagerly awaiting Josh's UK tour at the end of May. On arrival at The Lock Tavern, I was surprised but thrilled at how small the setting was - this wasn't like the venues I was used to seeing Rouse in, instead it was a cosy upstairs room in a pub, packed full of people enjoying their drinks and looking forward to an evening of live music.
The performance coincided nicely with last week's release of his tenth studio album The Happiness Waltz, with Josh explaining he was in the UK for the week doing promo for the album which led to this last minute gig. He then proceeded with the hour long set, which included a healthy balance of material from the new release, along with much loved classics from previous albums.
Josh opened the set with the upbeat and super catchy 'A Lot Like Magic', followed by 'Julie (Come Out Of The Rain)', 'The Ocean' and 'The Happiness Waltz'. These new songs, accompanied by Josh's sublime vocals sounded fantastic in an acoustic setting and I look forward to hearing them played live with a full band in May. Much to the delight of the crowd, Josh took requests for a fair majority of the show which resulted in a wide range of tracks being played from earlier albums, the most notable of which being 'Dressed Up Like Nebraska' (from the album of the same name), which was a highlight of the gig. My favourite songs of the evening were 'It's The Nighttime, 'Winter In The Hamptons' and 'Sad Eyes' from Nashville, though other key moments included 'The Western Isles' and '1972'.
Overall, the amazing experience of seeing one of my favourite musicians in such an intimate and relaxed setting, combined with a brilliant setlist, made this unexpected performance one of the most memorable gigs I've been to in a long while. I hope Josh plays more shows like this in the future.