What happened to rock n’ roll? What happened to ruddy passion? Theo Gibson is a perfect example of a new age of Sheeran-sheeps who sing – and rap, we can’t miss that out – about cigarettes, WKDs and life in Landan. Except he doesn’t even do that very well. I winced as he plodded through a strained set-list of covers, including the JCB song and a ‘Fiddy Cent’ medley, and I left feeling pretty miffed that we had all been cheated out of seven quid. Despite his promise that there will be ‘slow and fast ones’, every song sounded the same as the bland, out-of-tune one before it. While I concede that he had fingers in many different generic pies, his acoustic live-lounge versions hammered them all into the same insipid mongrel-sound (which, by the way, is not the same as ‘making it your own’).
I must hand it to Gibson, though, because he does in fact write some songs of his own. They are, however, all Ed Sheeran paint-by-numbers, if it weren’t for the fact that every fifth line has about three syllables too many. Songs like ‘First Meet’ and ‘One Day’ tell of his apparently riotous life of falling for girls and hanging out in Camden Town; I can’t say I was convinced. This was perhaps the greatest problem with Gibson’s performance: I just didn’t believe him. His song, ‘Don’t Go’, had the emotion of something that should have been called, ‘You Can Go if You Want to, I Guess’.
Gibson actually seemed to be a very sweet guy, especially when reminiscing about school concerts he’d been in (the previous year). In fact, his school apparently runs a festival that he compared to Edinburgh Fringe! ‘Smaller scale, I suppose’. We also had some special guests, including his quivering mate, Molly Hickey, whose nerves hindered her apparent classical training. Gibson’s voice, on the other hand, needs some help in terms of control, although it certainly shows potential.
There were also some awkward technical issues, including mis-placed capos and unprepared amps. However, this was his first show in Edinburgh – and outside of London, for that matter – so I can put that down to teething problems. All in all though, I just couldn’t help but feel that Gibson and his pre-pubescent posse would be better returning in a few years’ time. Without a doubt, Gibson has raw musical talent and an endearing love of performing. That said, the finale song, a glee-style mash-up of ‘All Along the Watchtower’ (the Sheeran rapping version – I cried inside), ‘Call me Maybe’ and Taylor Swift’s ‘We are Never Ever Getting Back Together’, said it all.