Etham @ O2 Forum Kentish Town

As the O2 Forum Kentish Town venue started to fill up, people were looking for the last few empty seats and grabbing a drink; the audience was eagerly awaiting the headlining artist Sabrina Claudio. As for regular concertgoers, we know there are usually one or two support acts with a tough assignment to entertain and stimulate a crowd that is not necessarily there to see them.

Thursday’s opening performer passed this task with flying colors, and his name was Etham, a singer/songwriter from Reading who won Kentish Town over with his emotionally-charged acoustic show. In turmoil, the light suddenly went dark, only focusing on Etham and his guitar, a setting he usually feels the most comfortable in since his busking and pub open mic times.

Etham opened the night with his debut single, ‘Control,’ initially released in 2017. For a release that essentially introduced him to the music scene, ‘Control’ showcased an admirable vulnerability and emotional maturity. It is fair to say it left everyone stunned.

Throughout his 30-minute set, Etham offered a snippet into the best of his repertoire, which has accumulated over 165 million Spotify streams. The set list included singles from his two inward-looking, heartfelt EPs, ‘Better Now’ and ‘Stripped,’ such as ‘Better Now,’ ‘Opposite of Loving Me,’ and ‘Before I Lost My Mind.’

As soon as Etham began his closing and stand-out track ’12:45,’ the crowd turned into Etham’s fandom, singing along to every word. No wonder, as ’12:45′ has amassed over 69 million streams.

Etham’s angelic, pitch-perfect vocals took over the stage in a way where no extra choreographies or light arrangements were necessary. His set was raw and honest and was able to pull you right into his world and leave you in your feels, questioning previous relationships, replaying favorite butterfly moments, and reflecting on your current state of mind.

The rising star has recently shared his latest single, ‘I Won’t,’ that tranquility traverses between subjects of love, loyalty, and sacrifice.

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Photographer: Sophie Vaughan

Words: Karolina Kramplova