Starsailor @ Leeds Beckett Student Union 7/10

It may seem strange for a band like this to play at such a small venue on their first UK tour since 2009, however the result created by this was immense. In Leeds Beckett’s Student Union, Starsailor whacked out a set of eighteen songs with such energy and vigour that the overall effect was the atmosphere of a personal concert, as though they were playing in your living room.

James Walsh started (and remained throughout the whole concert) a humble lead singer, smiling sheepishly at members of the audience and giving heartfelt thanks at the end of every piece. He even altered the lyrics of Lullaby to “Quiet Yorkshireman” and thanked Leeds for a warm reception stating, “I’m a Lancashire man and I’m surprised we were even let over the border!”

After a flawless performance of ‘Poor Misguided Fool’, ‘Fever’ and ‘In the Crossfire’, Walsh introduced Embrace guitarist Rick. This addition of a new member seemed to strengthen the band, making them bolder, yet also as though they were welcoming the crowd into a warm embrace (if you’ll excuse the pun).

Continuing the show with hit songs from their latest album, Starsailor’s defined style became apparent – seamlessly shifting from acoustic to electric within the popular ‘Alcoholic’ and finishing with the crowd belting out the final lines. After slowing the tempo with ‘Neon Sky’ and ‘Tie Up My Hands’ the audience was brought back to life by the incredible keyboard introduction and melody of ‘Tell Me It’s Not Over’. The lyrics seemed to echo the thoughts of the audience as they became aware that the set was nearly over. The band closed with their hit single ‘Silence is Easy’ causing a seemingly endless run of applause and whistling before they finally returned for an encore to a deafening cheer from the crowd with ‘Four to the Floor’ and an extended version of the aptly named ‘Good Souls’.

Worth a mention are the two local acts that Starsailor had invited as their supports – singer/songwriter Oliver Pinder who gave a gentle start to the evening and 4-piece Sheffield band The Sherlocks who took to the stage with confidence and exuded energy throughout their whole set. Despite the small venue, this gig was a rare treat and one of the best I have been lucky enough to witness in a long time.


Megan Chown

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