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WPGM Reviews: The Driver Era Live At O2 Institute Birmingham

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The Driver Era made a stop in Birmingham on their International leg of the ‘GIRLFRIEND’ world tour, in support of their latest album, Summer Mixtape.

With a sold out show at The Institute, with support from Jessarae and a DJ set from Ryland Lynch, what more could they ask for then a packed room filled with some of their most dedicated fans, excitement, cowboys hats and everyone there to just have a good time. It would have been impossible for anyone in that room to have left without a smile on their face.

Before The Driver Era took to the stage, warming up the crowd with energy that reached every corner of the room and powerful vocals was Jessarae. With having toured with artists including Little Mix, he knew exactly how to get a packed venue going. Singing songs from his latest album, No Limits, there were smiles all around from the crowd.

Audience participation was a big part of Jessarae’s set which felt like it brought everyone together even more. It was evident the passion he had for being up on the stage, showing gratitude to The Driver Era for having him out on the road.

Jessarae was a great choice as a support act. Putting everything into his set, he definitely delivered and made it a memorable performance and one to be proud of.

As he said his goodbye, applause erupted from the front to the balcony, which filled the room with excitement as Ryland Lynch was up next to bring the people of Birmingham a DJ set, taking everyone back in time with throwback anthems.

From Galantis and Kate Bush to Madonna, this felt like the biggest karaoke party ever and everyone was invited. Feeding off the audiences’ energy, he was continuously hyping up the room even more to the point where one single person was not singing along and feeling the positivity all around.

From the very first track and all the remixes that were played, Ryland was all about having fun and making sure everyone was doing the same.

Then came the moment everyone had been waiting for. Ross and Rocky, along with their talented band, made their way to the stage. Kicking everything off in full force, on came the bright lights and with the first note, the audience were ready to go.

It was no surprise that they were singing just as loud as the band. Every song went down well, especially “Preacher Man”. As the chorus approaches, the fans are ready to scream back every word.

It wouldn’t be a Driver Era show without covers. From Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home” and even “Can’t Do It Without You”, the title song from the Disney TV show, Austin & Ally, everyone knew every word.

It was evident that the majority of their fans had been with them from the very beginning, which definitely didn’t go unnoticed by both Ross and Rocky. There was a mix of songs taken from their 2021 album, Girlfriend, as well as their latest release, Summer Mixtape.

The Driver Era had an extensive set list, which no one would complain about especially with the evident joy that continued to fill the room. They were having so much fun on stage and that certainly translated to their fans too.

Accessories such as a green pair of sunglasses given to Ross by a fan, a blue feather boa and a pink cowboy hat added the finishing touches to the visuals. After every song, Rocky and Ross enjoyed addressing their fans and making everything a lot more personal and intimate, regardless of selling out the main room of the O2 Institute.

Even with the show coming to an end, the energy in the room was continuous. The band left the stage, with the crowd chanting “one more song” continuously.

As the lights at the front of the stage began to slowly come back on, the whole room gave The Driver Era a well deserved cheer before they performed the last three songs of the night- “Fade”, “Afterglow” and “A Kiss”. The crowd took in every second.

Being at The Driver Era’s show is an experience in itself. A sense of community, positivity and a genuine love for both the band and their music is all that’s needed to call their shows a place that feels like home.

Words + photography by Sarah Akomanyi

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