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Review: Juan Zelada's Good Times Tour At London's Bush Hall

Posted: 3/04/2012 14:39

Juan Zelada made a confident promise to his fans when tickets went on sale for his first UK wide tour - if you don't enjoy it you can get your money back.

The singer, songwriter and musician from Madrid, Spain, who is based in London, had his first taste of success with his debut single Breakfast in Spitalfields in 2011, which became Radio Two's Record Of The Week and received the second-most plays on the station behind Adele.

However, promising "a good time or your money back" on his first tour - 26 dates - was a brave move. Although he's now signed to Paul Simon's (one of Zelada's inspirations) Decca record label, it's an unprecedented pledge for someone breaking into the mainstream music arena.

I'd listened to and enjoyed Zelada's debut album High Ceilings & Collar Bones, which the title, he told the Star, "evokes images of concepts [he's] very fond of". So I was keen to hear the music, compared to that of Paolo Nutini's and Jack Johnson's, performed live.

Zelada is no stranger to touring, he was part of the support band on Amy Winehouse's Back To Black tour and has spent years playing independent gigs across the capital, before being recognised by former restaurant manager, Adam Low, who booked him to entertain his customers.

But is he really so good live that he can keep a sold-out venue full of people happy?

Before he came on stage, concert goers at London's Bush Hall sat on the floor inside the lavishly-decorated former dance hall, draped in chandeliers, while the support act performed a melodic set.

When Zelada and his band rocked up, that instantly changed, as the charismatic charmer got everyone on their feet before the first note of his first track - Breakfast in Spitalfields - had even been played.

As an album, High Ceilings & Collar Bones is an easy listening record that you could happily play in the background as you chill out at home, while performed live it's an upbeat entertainer that's impossible not to sing and dance along to.

Despite everyone dripping in sweat after 10 minutes in the seemingly non-air-conditioned hall, no one stopped to cool down, with the hour-long set remaining consistently fun and capturing. And Zelada offered up plenty of comedy along with his energetic yet soulful vocals, keyboard and acoustic guitar playing, he joked: "It's so hot, this about as close to Spain as I've ever been."

By the end of the concert he had his fans - new and old - hooked and calling for an encore. I'm pretty sure not one person in the hall wanted their money back. In fact, I'd buy the ticket all over again.

The Good Times Tour, featuring Zelada and his band, starts in Northampton on March 28 and ends in Brighton on April 29.

LISTEN: A sample of Juan Zelada's album...

 

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