Rising Irish singer-songwriter Cian Ducrot (pronounced: Kee-an Due-crow) served up showmanship, powerful vocals and heartfelt lyrics at his first-ever LA show last night, performing at downtown’s Moroccan Lounge. The 25-year-old talent recently opened for Ed Sheeran and just earlier this month Ducrot shared the stage with the Jonas Brothers in London, collaborating on his hit single “I’ll Be Waiting.” Fans globally won’t have to wait too much longer since Ducrot has now announced world tour dates across North America, Europe and Australia, playing tonight in San Francisco through December in Ireland, with another LA stop, September 25 at the El Rey Theatre. Back to his LA debut, Ducrot’s tour opener pop singer Haley Joelle showcased a wonderful tone on her songs “Two Places At Once” and her falsetto shined on the delicate “Memory Lane.”
Cian Ducrot shared a spirited vocal on his opening song “Make Believe”, wearing a black shirt and black sequined pants, delivering the power ballad’s melody under blue spotlights as the song picked up at the chorus. Following the first chorus he asked the crowd, “LA, how are we feeling?” and he earned applause for an impressive guitar break. New song “Victory” and title track of upcoming debut album (due July 21) offered the first taste of what’s to come in terms of new material. Where some songs may bring to mind Hozier, others are in the lane of the solo singer-songwriter types currently on the scene, like Lewis Capaldi, Dean Lewis or Sam Smith. “Victory” encapsulated rockstar energy like that of The Script with Ducrot first seated at the piano, beautifully kicking it off with soon-to-be anthemic “oh oh ohs”, encouraging the crowd to sing along with him. Chills were felt from the song, from the driving hip-hop beat with rapid, almost rapped verses and a killer vocal on the refrain, giving the singer a solid pop-rock tune, with standout drums and guitar as well from his band members.
“This is my first-ever show in LA,” said Ducrot, which of course brought the cheers. “First ever American tour. Hell yeah, America! Love it here, sometimes, some places.” He introduced the next tune as a song “from a few years ago” and he joked that it’s called “Fuck That Bitch.” The song was actually “Not Usually Like This”, with Ducrot back at the piano, yellow lights surrounding the stage and the heartbreak ballad flooding the room with a big drum beat.
2020 track “somebody else” had warm piano and Cian Ducrot’s head voice was stellar on this one, with a choir track backing him. The crowd loved it, and one can only imagine how much more elevated songs like this one and a few others would be with a choir or background singers —hopefully next time around. Ducrot introduced the next one being “about shit friends”, standing with his guitar for the bittersweet ballad “Crocodiles.” Ducrot handled his dynamics particularly well on this one, especially when hitting his falsetto perfectly, and all was complemented with another magical guitar break.
Another new and unreleased song was introduced by Ducrot, saying “you gotta move your hips on this one.” It was in fact a danceable pop-rock tune, soaring effortlessly on the vocals and to close out the song (Title Unknown), he grabbed his flute for a solo that concluded it to a wild applause. [Fun facts: Cian Ducrot studied classical flute at the Royal Academy of Music in London and his mother is a concert pianist and flautist]. Following the new song, Ducrot said, “Last time I was in LA, I saw Lizzo and she whipped out the flute.”
Ducrot had more tricks up his sleeve, sharing another tune called “How Do You Know” about “the good old days”, teaching the crowd a line that was repeated in call-and-response throughout: “Well we don’t know the words, but we’re singing ’cause these are the times.” He complimented the LA crowd for nailing it on the first time and “parted the seas” for a most intimate moment, singing amongst the crowd circling him, on the floor, joining in together for various levels of intensity and volume, which made for a truly special communal moment.
A couple bars of One Direction’s “Steal My Girl” blended with “Story of My Life” happened, serving as the only brief covers of the night. Then Ducrot took a request from the fans, playing the first song he ever released, “Aftertaste”, at the piano. Another new one called “Heaven” had a pleasant piano intro, more lively “ohs” that will fill stadiums one day and a massive pop-rock production. “Heaven” had moments of Lukas Graham, reminiscing about childhood and this one could be a major hit for Ducrot, with the crowd noticeably clapping at the end.
The weight of “Part Of Me” may not have hit the audience in the past the way it did at the show. Cian Ducrot took a moment to say he wished he never had to write the song about his best friend who took his life a couple years ago. “Life is very, very precious and very, very short. It breaks my heart that someone can be so sad.” He added that the intention of the song is that if it helps one person, then it’s done what it is supposed to do. Ducrot’s voice hit its stride and the emotion of the song could really be felt, with fans gently singing along to the moving piece. It will likely go down as one of Ducrot’s most popular songs, with a piano outro that clearly had a number of fans in tears.
The emotional chords of “All For You” took over and Ducrot’s voice soared on another of his most popular ballads. He was standing by the end of the song and following the applause, he sang a couple bars in French, just messing around at the piano and it was a beautiful off-the-cuff moment. The ongoing joke of the night, which is the case at many of Ducrot’s shows is that fans will often scream “I’ll Be Waiting” and the wait was finally over for his breakthrough hit. The gospel-infused pop song was extremely uplifting as expected, with hands up and the audience moved by the hit song. It may be the most inspiring song in its genre since “Take Me To Church,” now a decade old.
Words by Michael Menachem
Images by Paige Good