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James Marriott @ O2 Ritz review – Brighton indie rocker shows no signs of slowing down

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Featured image and gallery: Ameena Ceesay


James Marriott is familiar as a figurehead within YouTube commentary content, but to those in the know, he’s becoming an emerging presence within the UK’s indie scene. A few months removed from the release of his debut album, Are We There Yet? and he’s still coasting off the momentum, keeping the ship steady.

Some would argue ‘the more, the merrier’ when it comes to live audiences – tonight, however, the Ritz is struggling to hold the crowd’s capacity, to the point where simply moving around is uncomfortable. This is rendered inconsequential as the performances begin but, and I mean this as a compliment, management could’ve booked out a bigger venue.

Supporting act Soft Launch plays while the majority of the crowd are still waiting outside. Second support, Lexie Carroll, is later tasked to face that majority, who are incredibly receptive throughout her set. As early as the first song, the venue is illuminated with phone torches. What makes it more remarkable is the fact it’s a one woman show. Carroll sings, plays the guitar and has her own soundboard standing next to her. Not to mention she’s only 19.

It’s safe to assume that James Marriott’s status as an internet personality boosted his music career and formed the crux of his fanbase. As a result, it’s put a microscope onto his performances, to establish as to whether the musical talent is actually there. Alas, we get to the opener, ‘Over My Head,’ and all apprehensions are put to rest. 

The music itself is very generic, no different from any other indie band, but it’s elevated by the fun stage presence of Marriott and how devoted the crowd is. We are then blessed with stuffed bears, roughly drawn signs and neon light tubes. To compliment the ballad, ‘In Between’, the torches return.

There are instances where a couple of people in the crowd get hurt, but Marriott makes sure to stop the show so that security could handle it safely. The high energy is maintained through to the encore, ‘Romanticise This,’ and although the request for one more song isn’t granted, possibly due to the injuries given how abrupt the show ends, the band still manages to send everyone home happy. 

The recency of Marriott’s music career reflects him playing it safe in terms of sound, however he’s got years to grow as an artist, and with a fan base such as this, we’ll all be along for the ride. Basic, easy listening with the best yet to come.

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Ameena Ceesay

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