August 17, 2019
Princes Street Gardens, EdinburghWith his self-deprecating wit and blue-eyed soul, the young Scots chart-topper delights with a celebratory show mined from undiluted miseryLewis Capaldi wants to make very clear how this is going to go down. “I’m going to sing some songs, you’re going to listen to them, and then we’re all going to fuck off,” says the Scottish singer-songwriter, swigging from a can of lager. Those songs, he adds, will all be sad, if not actively depressing. After he’s done, he intends to get “steaming”. The audience loudly endorses this plan.
Lewis Capaldi review – an ecstatic sense of homecoming
It has long been the case that American artists tend to valorise hard work and gruelling professionalism while their British counterparts prefer to appear as if they’re making it up as they go along. Even so, from the title of his 2019 debut album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, to a profoundly dishevelled anti-style that makes Ed Sheeran look like Cary Grant, Capaldi takes self-deprecation to extraordinary lengths. He gives the impression that he rolled out of bed one morning and, to his great surprise, somehow fell on to the top of the charts. Behind the scenes, of course, that is not quite how it works – his sturdy, stirring songs were crafted with the aid of a fleet of co-writers and producers – but Capaldi’s impersonation of an accidental pop star isn’t exactly disingenuous. It feels, in part, like a coping mechanism. His album has been No 1 for six weeks, his ballad Someone You Loved topped the charts for seven; his shows sell out in record time, and he’s still only 22.
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