Passenger Gig Review

"And I hate those ignorant folk who pay money to see gigs, then talk through every fucking song" - I Hate, Passenger

It's not often that I look at my ticket on the way to a gig and think oh god, I don't know any of the songs! but for this particular one, it was the case. I don't think I've ever bought a ticket so spontaneously as I did with my Passenger ticket. Having listened to his album All The Little Lights a few times, I'd decided I liked the guy - yeah sure he wrote about pretty depressing stuff and all that but there was something charmingly hilarious about his songs and here I found myself, on a train off to see him gig at The Eventim Hammersmith Apollo in London.

Passenger's most popular hit to date has been Let It Go, proving to be of some confusion to Frozen fans, if anyone was expecting a Disney singalong, he made it clear that that wasn't what they'd be getting! It turns out Michael Rosenberg (or Passenger) is a pretty funny guy, he was on top form, interacting with the audience between each song. He's had a fair amount of success for a once busker who stayed in many a Travel Lodge, no matter how dire he found his experience. On his busking adventures he met many people, most of whom have inspired his material in some way or another. Possibly the most heartbreaking story was of an Australian man, travelling Europe - something he and his wife had been saving and saving to do - but he was alone, his wife had passed away shortly before his trip. Yet he was still there, still living out his dream and there's something humbling about that, about how he was dealing with his grief. I guess a story like that would stick with you but, when you encounter someone like Michael, not only does it stick with him, but he also writes a song about it.

I hardly knew any of the songs he was playing (sorry to any massive fans out there that wanted a ticket to the sold out show) yet that didn't stop it being one of my favourite gigs that I've ever been to. There's something to be said for an artist who's fans have so much respect for their wishes. At one point Michael asked for the audience to be absolutely silent for his next song and, despite it being a Saturday night in London, his request was respected. I don't think I've ever been at a gig where the entire room is silent for the duration of a whole song and, to be honest, I rather liked it. He played both alone with a guitar, and with his band, both were minimal enough to really show off his amazing vocals. The Hammersmith Apollo is an incredible venue, the sound a much better quality than you get at big arenas like The O2 and I'd forgotten quite how much I loved the small London venue.

Despite the depressing undertones of the music, the negative attitude of I Hate got the crowd really going, everyone chanting along with the cryptic lyrics. Passenger is definitely an artist I'd like to see again and I'd highly recommend seeing him if you get a a chance after all, I'm enough proof that you don't need to know his music to enjoy one of his gigs!