Aiden Grimshaw live: Bournemouth

Despite boundless energy, Aiden was let down by an appalling venue and terrible sound system

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Date: 23 Sep 2012 | Rating: 3-5
Aiden Grimshaw live: Bournemouth

It's a rare feat for a smaller venue to be so devoid of any soul that it feels like the sinister basement of a lunatic's home. Still, that didn't stop The Old Firestation from attempting to drain all the enjoyment out of Aiden Grimshaw's Bournemouth gig. As staff incrementally increased drinks' prices with every order and the stench of urine came drifting from the gents' toilets, it felt like a huge disservice to have Aiden and support act Seye perform there. It felt wrong. And thanks to some shoddy acoustics, it sounded wrong, too.

Problems began around the eponymous track ‘Misty Eye’ – arguably the weakest track on his album – when the poor sound system turned the raw power of Aiden’s vocals into the equivalent of a sonic boom. It was uncomfortable to endure; even one of the band members kept having to close his ear to keep up with his cues in the noise of it all. These same issues stopped his cover of Sia’s ‘Breathe Me’ from being affecting and made it sound asthmatic.

In spite of all of this, Aiden didn’t let the energy drop for a moment. Climbing into the drum ‘n’ bass of ‘Is This Love’ almost caused the crowd to keel over from excitement; despite its criminally low chart-placing, the energy of his debut single was undeniable as it ricocheted through the grim venue.

Aiden came into his own towards the end of the show, allowing us to see that his performance style had bounded on since his days as X Factor ballast. As he began ‘Curtain Call’, he asked the crowd to join in with their hands in the air. Tween girls and sexually ambiguous boys obliged, palpitating that the 21-year-old was close enough to touch.

Although his songs can fluctuate between raw and indulgent, Aiden’s material is far more honest than most X Factor singers would dare to deliver. If he can learn to focus the chaos of his own emotions into something slightly more coherent, he’s going to become a very powerful artist.