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13th May 2022

Denis Coleman and Since September set the stage for Little Mix

Theatre Editor Jay Darcy reviews Denis Coleman and Since September at AO Arena, as part of Little Mix’s farewell Confetti Tour
Denis Coleman and Since September set the stage for Little Mix
Photo: Jay Darcy @ The Mancunion

I’m a sucker for a support act. I like to look into them ahead of the concert – and, at the very least, give them a little listen. I always get to the music venue early enough to catch them. From a personal standpoint, they set the scene and warm you up. But I also go to support them. Whilst huge artists sometimes have notable opening acts (Cher had Paul Young), most support acts are young, emerging talent, trying to make a career out of their passion. I encourage people to go for dinner a little earlier so you can get to the music venue early enough to catch the support act(s). If you’re too cold to care, think of it this way: you’re literally paying for it…

Little Mix have not one but two support acts on their farewell tour – The Confetti Tour. The second, Since September, are touring with the girls as a prize for winning Little Mix The Search. The first, Denis Coleman, was announced relatively recently. I checked him out a few weeks back. I was quickly fascinated by him. He’s only 18, yet he’s already achieved great success, and just by listening to his music, you know that he is wise beyond his years.

It’s for this reason that I reached out to interview him (something I do rarely). The interview went even better than expected; he’s so incredibly intelligent and eloquent.

Whilst I always talk about the support act(s) in my music reviews, this time, I thought I’d write a whole piece dedicated to them.

Denis opened the show. Whilst we were sat a little farther back for his set (the second side block from the stage), Denis commanded so much attention that it did not matter. His incredible energy cannot be attributed solely to his youth; much of it comes down to his enthusiasm. He was clearly thrilled to be there, opening for the biggest girl band in the world on their farewell tour, showcasing his phenomenal music to one of the biggest arenas in the world.

Wearing a colourful jumper – jumpers seem to be his staple – he really looked the part. He has this real rock star energy to him, even when he’s not singing (or jumping around the stage).

He opened his set with the aurally incredible ‘Halogen Nights.’ It was a really strong start to the show. He did not give the audience time to get to know him; he came out, loud and proud, and rocked the arena to its core.

He obviously sang his most-listened to song (and my favourite song of his), ‘pillowTHOUGHTS.’ This performance was particularly passionate. He went full-on rock star during the chorus, racing across the stage and rocking his body.

He wisely sang (and advertised) the two new songs he told me about: ‘Narcissist’ and ‘Healing the Process.’

He boldly covered Elton John and Dua Lipa‘s acclaimed ‘Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)’. It’s brave to sing any Elton John song, let alone his first chart hit in over a decade – and his first #1 in almost two! Denis sure is daring, but he’s also assured – he knew he’d pull it off.

The only criticism I have for his set is that it was criminally short. It was an awesome opportunity for him to showcase some of his music, but I wish he’d gotten a little longer to sing a few more songs. Still, he made the most of his limited stage time, making fans out of Little Mix supporters who had never even heard of him – and you’d rather leave people wanting more than praying for you to wrap up.

Denis’ adorable parents let us have their (superior) seats after his set finished. We sadly missed Since Septembers’ first two songs because we needed to use the loo, get drinks and buy a programme (I collect them, which is not too bad when I’m getting the tickets for free, but the girl next to me spilled her drink on it, and I’m still pissed off).

Since September’s set was noticeably longer than Denis’, so we still got to jam along for a decent amount of time.

Like Denis, each member of Since September is an all-rounded artist and performer: they sing, they play instruments, and they have a whole lot of fun doing it! The boys also have a rock edge to them; they’re all pretty, but they’re not your typical pretty-boy boy band. Each member looked badass in their outfits – enhanced by their unashamed and understandable confidence.

It’s hard to believe that the boys have not actually been together that long – and they’ve only been playing arenas for a few weeks. They took control of the giant stage and forced every single member of the audience to watch and listen to them (not that we did not want to). Their set was a nice mix of covers and original music – including a particularly poignant performance of their debut single, ‘Let You Go.’

It was incredible seeing my pal, Patrick Ralphsona former University of Manchester student, who I interviewed last year – playing at the Manchester Arena. His sister, Sally (my best mate), is gutted to be missing the tour (she’s teaching in Madagascar), but we look forward to seeing them on their second headline tour later this year! Both acts made for an incredible introduction before the main set from Little Mix.

Since September’s second headlining tour runs from 1st until 14th October. They will be playing at Manchester Academy 3 on 6th October.

Denis Coleman, meanwhile, is embarking on his first ever headlining tour from 1st until 13th August. He will be playing at the Deaf Institute in Manchester on 4th August.

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected].

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