Gig review: BLUE OCTOBER – Islington O2 Academy, 4 March 2017

Shortly before the UK tour, David Randall chatted to Justin Furstenfeld for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio.  In the first hour of his weekly show, David plays tracks from the current and recent albums whilst asking Justin about the band’s background and success in the USA.  (First broadcast 26 February 2017).

BLUE OCTOBER - Islington O2 Academy, 4 March 2017

Blue October were on the second night of their London shows, re-arranged from the autumn due to the success of their latest album ‘Home’ in their native US. Bit of a special night for this reviewer after being side-lined from gigs since last September with glandular fever, to say I was looking forward to this was an understatement and Blue October delivered with a superb set.

‘I Want It’ started things off in a lively manner and from the start singer Justin Furstenfeld was a real ball of energy, pouring his heart and soul into each song and lyric. A Blue October gig is a very intense experience it has to be said as the songs mean a lot to the band, in particular Justin, who often references from stage his personal problems from a few years ago.

Luckily he is in a much better place as the recent album ‘Home’ and its predecessor ‘Sway’ both attest to. The new album makes up a good sized portion of the setlist with the title track and ‘Driver’ going down particularly well with the capacity crowd. As he said at the end of the show, life is about love and taking/having a second chance at things.

Multi-instrumentalist Ryan Delahoussaye certainly earns his keep, switching from keyboards to guitar and adding violin on some songs. Guitarist Matthew Ostrander (making his UK live debut replacing C.B. Hudson who left the band last year) and bassist Matt Noveskey worked tirelessly throughout, with Matthew Ostrander doing an onstage leap at one point, but otherwise they stayed stage left of Justin throughout the gig.

For the first of five encores, Justin is joined by his brother and drummer Jeremy, for an acoustic version of ‘We Know Where You Go’. The song really hits home in acoustic form and full marks for the person telling a few chattering idiots in the crowd to ‘shut the f*** up’.  Listen to the music, if you want to chat go to a pub!

Justin said two songs that will always be on the setlist were ‘Hate Me’ (although he did joke he was dropping it tonight) and ‘The Worry List’, which is dedicated to his daughter Blue. ‘Leave It In The Dressing Room (Shake It Up)’ rounded the set off in a suitably upbeat style and hopefully the band will be back again soon to the UK.

Blue October hit all the right spots for a memorable live show, namely good songs coupled with fine performances from all of the band.

Review by Jason Ritchie

I Want It/ Sway/ Say It/ Light You Up/ Into the Ocean/ Fear/ Debris/ Home/ Driver/ Bleed Out/ Houston Heights/ Coal Makes Diamonds
Encores: We Know Where You Go/ The Worry List/ Hate Me/ Italian Radio/ Leave It In The Dressing Room (Shake It Up)

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