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  • Writer's pictureNikki Smash

Breland + Support & Special Guests at The Electric Ballroom Camden London 09/09/23

Breland live in London

Photo credit: Dunc 'Rock Photographer' Tyler

Breland + Support & Special Guests at The Electric Ballroom Camden London 09/09/23

The highly anticipated return for BRELAND since his emphatic set from C2C festival for ‘THE EXTRA MILE TOUR’ saw the platinum-selling star perform five headline dates with a sold out headline show, the biggest of his career to date, in the famous Electric Ballroom in Camden, London. Breland was joined on this run by tiktok star turned singer-songwriter Avery Anna.

Having got to the venue in the sweltering heat, we managed to spend some time chatting with Brelands fans before the doors opened on September 9th. The genuine love for Breland is clear; his fans are from a wide range of musical tastes which is also a good sign that your music is able to connect to different audiences from a wide range of demographics. There were pop fans, traditional country fans, rock & metal tattooed folk and hip-hop/rap fans. The clothing attire was also as diverse, reflecting that wide range of musical genres.

Although I was disappointed by the lack of cowboy hats in attendance, a gentleman not far from me was in full country regalia - he looked great and I love seeing the UK crowd make an effort like that. I think with a genre like country music it goes hand in hand but I’ll let everyone off as it was in the middle of a heatwave sitting 33 degrees in Camden!

Just for full disclosure - Riff Yard Media’s official photographer Dunc Tyler and I were very kindly invited to this show for the purpose of reviewing and taking official photos from this show. Dunc was limited to the first 3 songs on each set for photos.

We were both looking forward to this show and, as both muso’s, we were also excited to be checking out Breland’s band.

Avery Anna live in London

First we must talk about 22 year old Avery Anna who was supporting for this short run, who had completely passed me by but I was very surprised by what I heard. A fabulous voice with immense passion and wearing a heart on her sleeve. It was obvious that she has a total honesty in her songwriting, writing about her ups and downs and giving everyone the story behind each song.

Avery Anna found success during the pandemic whilst at school on Tiktok, eventually being picked up by a label and then moving from her home in Arizona to Nashville. Avery’s singing ability was very clear throughout her set - she possessed great control of her vocals and I really enjoyed her piano playing. Her stage set up was just a piano with a laptop sometimes supplying backing tracks, although in my honest opinion I think the crowd vibed off her more when she didn’t use the technology (not that there's anything wrong with using laptops as I’m a fan of using that stuff and used it myself back in the day). The quality of the tracks and samples used felt of a slightly lower standard than her vocal and piano ability and my thoughts are that she sounded better and more confident without the use of it. An enthusiastic London crowd gave her great support. My main critique to Avery was there was a lot of talking between each song and the crowd would start talking amongst themselves until the next song started, but I’m putting that down to nerves probably. Avery has a strong catalogue of songs in the bank already which is impressive given her short career to date. It’s a testament to her writing and my enjoyment of the set that I was left a little flat hearing two covers of Adele and Taylor Swift, which of course had the crowd engaged, but I think hearing more of her great songs would have made this a perfect set. I’ll definitely be seeing Avery Anna when she returns to the UK and I’m excited to be at the beginning of her journey on what sounds to be a very promising career.

Photo Credit: Dunc 'Rock Photographer' Tyler

The room began to fill even more, anticipating the arrival of Breland and without messing around his band hit the stage and burst into “Here For It” with a phat groove from Harley DeWinter and MAN the quality of Christian Crawford & Budda Foster from Breland’s band is just mind blowing. I’ve seen a hell of a lot of artists and session players in my time, as well as having had the pleasure of working with some incredible session players, but this band is amongst the best of the best and it’s great to hear that this isn’t a paycheque gig. These dudes form an incredible band and you can see that they love playing these songs. The vibe is just phenomenal and I could write a whole feature piece on just them alone!

Breland live in London

Photo Credit: Dunc 'Rock Photographer' Tyler

Breland immediately had us all in the palm of his hand and his stage presence was full to the brim of positivity and happiness. His genuine, huge smile lit up the stage throughout the evening and he was at times really taken back by the love being shown back to him. It was wonderful to see such honest emotions and an artist being so genuinely grateful to his fans - I’ve got all the time in the world for that.

Breland’s set was packed with bangers from start to finish, playing tracks such as ‘High Horse’, ‘Throw It Back’, ‘Praise The Lord’, ‘My Truck’ the monster hit ‘Beers On Me’ which was complete with a sweet Hardy impression which was rewarded with a chuckle from the audience. His latest and a personal favourite of mine ‘Cowboy Don’t’ saw guitarist Christian Crawford absolutely rip a solo sent from the gods which the crowd absolutely loved. As well as dropping a brand new track ‘Thirsty’ which will feature on a deluxe version of Breland’s debut record called ‘Cross Country: The Extra Mile’ out on Friday 15th September. Breland enjoyed some banter with saying “This should be called The Extra Kilometer over here right?”

The set also saw some dynamic moments of just Breland and his phenomenal guitarist Christian playing ‘Happy Song’ while introducing new material ‘The Extra Mile’ and dedicating it to his late Grandmother who was instrumental in Breland’s grounding at a young age and it helped the audience connect with him in a different way - a very touching moment which united the room even more.

Christian Crawford, guitarist for Breland.

Breland live in London Christian Crawford
Christian Crawford

Photo Credit: Dunc 'Rock Photographer' Tyler

There were also guest appearances from Avery Anna and Kezia Gill. Avery sang on a brilliant cover of Deana Carter’s “Strawberry Wine” which saw the pair sport some rather fetching strawberry sunglasses. One of my personal highlights of the evening was seeing UK rising star Kezia Gill take the place of Alana Springsteen for “What It’s Worth” - wow, Kezia just absolutely killed it and I must say it made me a proud Brit seeing a home-grown British artist share the stage with someone like Breland. There was even a marriage proposal and thankfully she said yes, all the love in the room!

Breland couldn’t escape good ole English crowd banter when he attempted to chug a small beer, only to stop halfway - he gave the excuse of not being able to do it because he might burp during the next track and thought he could get away with such behavior, but after some banterful boos and his own band picking up beers and chugging them, Breland was thrown under the bus and Breland had to chug, and chug he did. Good man and great to see him enjoying the British sense of humour.

Breland live in London

Photo Credit: Dunc 'Rock Photographer' Tyler

What is there to say about the man himself in terms of performance and his vocal ability? Well, Breland's delivery and control of his voice is nothing short of world class. If you’ve read other articles from me or seen breakdowns on our youtube/rumble channels then you’ll know I’m a fan of how writers and vocalists are able to throw lyrics at you, about how they deliver emotions tied to the lyrics at you in a way where you don’t need a detailed essay on the bright or dark place they were writing from,. They’re no longer writing songs but writing emotions. It’s not easy, and in the country world of storytelling even this style of writing can get lost or the point missed but Breland I'm happy to say meets that criteria perfectly. His body language, facial expression, the passion from him is so beautifully attached to each word. This means that whilst pulling moves, jumping around and throwing agile leg kicks he is still delivering the right emotion with the lyric without the energetic performance over powering the songs emotional center. This is also done whilst nailing every vocal chop, run & lick effortlessly. What I witnessed was prime vocal fitness and an artist fulfilling his dream full of heart. His influences seamlessly intertwined together from the hip-hop gospel inspired runs to the heart and passion from soul all the way through to rock inspired energy and of course classic songwriting and country inspired delivery. This was a complete performance, the band running on all cylinders which gave Breland the confidence to be creatively and soulfully free. Breland’s show was at the precipice of putting on a memorable performance, a man at the top of his game. Simply stunning.

As if smashing it out of the park was not enough already for the fans, he held back at the souvenir stall for photos and autographs - a great example to some other artists I could mention!

"Breland has cemented a second home right here in the UK; his songwriting is genre-fluid, crossing boundaries and he is a breath of fresh air in an over-saturated industry. Breland is breaking down genres, cultures and now he’s doing this internationally. It was a pleasure to witness Breland in a small setting before he inevitably starts hitting arenas in the coming years. He is a huge talent and has the rare chemistry that his peers, public and industry are all rooting for him.” - Nikki Smash

Brelands Live Band:

Christian Crawford - Guitar

Budda Foster - Bass

Harley DeWinter - Drums

Full official Gallery of photos of Breland by Dunc 'Rock Photographer' Tyler

Breland is on tour with Country royalty Shania Twain September 14th-28th across the UK and Ireland get the last remaining tickets here:

We’ve made Breland’s London set list on Spotify for you to relive the night or in case you missed it:

Breland live in London

Connect with Breland:

Connect with Avery Anna:

Conenct with Dunc 'Rock Photographer' Tyler:

By Nikki Smash



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