"I think we're officially friends" Nate Smith exclaims, aghast at the standing ovation he received for his powerful performance of 'Wreckage'.
It tops off a weekend of momentous sets for the Californian, who cemented himself as the breakthrough artist of the weekend that everyone was talking about.
Playing through a seven-song acoustic set alongside his guitarist Stefan Guy, it was the perfect opportunity to really appreciate Smith as a songwriter, the sheer emotional weight of his lyricism as striking as the heaviness of his studio recordings.
Opening with 'Under My Skin', Smith tore through to its emotional core, his voice gruff and rasping against the singing along of the jam-packed crowd.
'Better Boy', his Hardy co-written latest single, was undoubtedly a highlight; the wholesome, wholehearted affection of his words sounding even more powerful with a crowd singing it right back to him, even after only being released a couple of weeks previously.
"I've truly wanted to come to London my entire life, and I'm glad you guys like country music so much" Smith explained, becoming noticeably emotional at points to the warmth of the response he was receiving.
Those moments came when Smith performed two of his most beloved songs. After having belted out the final chorus of 'Wreckage', Smith couldn't help but give in to the moment, cracking at the end before receiving the longest of ovations.
Leaving the biggest singalong till last, there wasn't one person not singing along with Smith for 'Whiskey On You', his No.1 smash hit. That song may have got Smith to where he is today, but his debut album and live performances are going to carry him to bigger and bigger stages from this point forward.
There's no question that Smith is the breakout star of this weekend; who knows how far he can go from here.
Taken from Nate Smith's show at The Barrelhouse Stage at The O2 in London, UK on Saturday, March 11th 2023.
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