Arriving at The Great Gatsby on Saturday night felt somewhat bizarre; being all too used to spending hours there drinking overpriced (but undeniably pretty) cocktails, this was the first time I had seen any live music here. However it certainly wasn’t something I was willing to miss out on; talented Hillsborough singer-songwriter Ian Britt was launching his anticipated new single, Heartless, here tonight.
Britt’s years of hard work and dedication to his music was clear from the offset; the self-assured air that surrounded him put everyone instantly at ease, as this was clearly a man who knew exactly what he was doing. As a loyal Northern city, Sheffield prides its home-grown talent and supports it unwaveringly, and this aspect was clear in the warm welcome Britt received from his audience.
The highlight of the beautifully-crafted set was undeniably Britt’s latest single, Heartless. A remake of a song he wrote many years ago about a childhood sweetheart, the nostalgia and genuine emotion behind it is clear as Britt performs. On the surface it is a catchy, upbeat, feel-good track; when delving into the lyrics, however, it becomes clear there is a lot more to it: ‘All I wanna do is play with my crayons and pretend like I rule the world’ and ‘I don’t want to play out with you no more’. The light-hearted childhood references took on a new and hauntingly sad significance when considered in light of Britt’s heartbreak.
The rest of the set was a blend of both new and older material, and showcased Britt’s incredible talent with an acoustic guitar. His heart-rending lyricism, well-crafted tunes and undeniably catchy hooks would have converted anyone into a fan, and raised the question as to why Britt hasn’t achieved more mainstream success. The fusion of indie-pop, poignant acoustic ballads and soulful bluesy tones was extremely refreshing; coupled with his effortless conversation with his audience, Britt’s set was near faultless.