Review: Hudson Taylor at Exeter Phoenix

Hudson Taylor

Hudson Taylor is Harry & Alfie Hudson Taylor, an Irish brother-duo. They both sing & play the guitar, alongside writing songs of what has been described to be of a “raw and folky” nature. Read Razz’s interview with them here & here.

Last Wednesday Irish brother-duo Hudson Taylor took to the stage with much aplomb, but not before having the crowd revved up with opening acts Amy Yon from Bristol and long-time friend from Dublin, Jack Morris. Gabrielle Aplin made a surprise appearance, accompanying Jack for a couple of songs – perhaps not so surprising given the nature of her relationship with Hudson Taylor (dating Alfie of Hudson Taylor).

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After an hour of being entertained with Amy Yon’s plaintive & earthy tones, and Jack Morris’ candidly humourous songs, the crowd was much excited to greet Hudson Taylor as they started with Just A Thought. Exeter was one of the band’s stop in their first ever headline tour “Singing for Strangers”. But the brothers evidently knew how to work the crowd, showing that their busking days in Dublin were clearly paying off. In fact, they seem to have made their busking roots a cornerstone of their identity as Hudson Taylor, unplugging and stripping down midway during the concert to present Arrive in a very intimate way. They seemed to like keeping things real, calling Gabrielle Aplin up onstage to sing Beautiful Mistake with them, in what they said was an “impromptu” decision.

In the one and a half hours that the duo was onstage, they kept the crowd rapt and eagerly singing along to favourites Chasing Rubies & Stranger. Even though they have yet to release their album (it has been released in Ireland but yet to be released elsewhere), Harry & Alfie have taken to streaming live on Youtube (a very aptly named series “Streaming for Strangers”) to present their songs, which might explain why much of the crowd could mouth every single word alongside the band.

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The band ended on a strong note with a clear crowd favourite, Care, before wolf whistles, claps, and stomping from the audience brought them back onstage for an encore with three more songs. They invited Gabrielle Aplin and Jack Morris back up on stage to teach the audience how to sing along to Don’t Know Why, one of their yet-to-be released songs on the album. In typical classic rock star fashion, the brothers left the stage after tossing crumpled set lists out to the audience which were eagerly received by screaming female fans, who perhaps were slightly disappointed that the items didn’t turn out to be of a more personal nature.

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Hudson Taylor are very good live, hitting the spot with their harmonies and clear synergy. They sound so good live, one might even possibly (& controversially) say that their upcoming album would pale in comparison. Then again, I have yet to hear their album and if their concert was anything to go by, “Singing for Strangers” would be definitely worth buying.

Nichola Koh

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