Roo Panes @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Dorset-raised singer-songwriter Roo Panes joined Rae Morris at Shepherds Bush Empire on Thursday evening as the main support for the Blackpool singers’ debut album’s 12-night UK tour. The classical folk singer, real name Andrew Panes, gained the nickname “Roo” as a child in homage to the fictional Winnie-the-Pooh character of the same name after falling in a river, a fate also suffered by the adventurous joey.
Panes rose to prominence in 2011 after a chance email landed him as the new frontman and face of British fashion house Burberry’s winter campaign. His chiselled jawline appeared on Billboards across London alongside female model Gabriella Wilde whilst his musical talents were used by Burberry Acoustic to compliment and romanticise the campaign, recording tracks including Know Me Well and Indigo Home.
Admitting he is too short for modelling, he is now concentrating on music and 2015 has seen him support both Rae Morris and George Ezra, as well as selling out a UK headline tour of his own to follow up his 2014 debut album, Little Giant. Now working towards new album Paperweights, due to be released in Spring 2016, he showcased tracks from the new album, as well as pleasing the crowd with a few old favourites.
Opening the show with Indigo Home from his debut album, Panes sang solo with only an acoustic guitar to support his husky folk sound. Filling the walls of the Shepherds Bush Empire immediately with his strong voice, Panes showed off his talent on guitar to an engaged audience. It is clear to see Panes has a natural creative flare, which evidently runs in the family. His sister Lucy designs the artwork for his album covers and other sister Deborah is a professional photographer.
Introducing the next track, Summer Thunder, Panes invited Squiff Wordsworth to stage on Cello who would remain with him for the remainder of the set. Announcing that the track was from the yet-to-arrive album, he admitted that he has been playing the song on the tour as a bit of a run up. Starting out gently with Panes’ soft folky rasps melting the mostly young female crowd, a strong chorus ensues which saw the good-looking singer belt out the lines ‘it’s time to let it go’ to excited applause.
Politely announcing to the crowd that it was such a pleasure to be there, he admitted that last time he was at the Empire he was sat high in the top tier to watch Rae Morris and now being there on stage supporting Rae was just amazing. Alternating throughout the show between his 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars, he followed with older hit Tiger Striped Sky before again treating the crowd to new material, introducing The Original as the new song that will be coming out as a single very soon.
Reverting back to old songs for the final two tracks, the slow soothing notes of Ran Before The Storm left the audience in silence. After being reminded by Hatton before the last song to announce his name, Panes thanked the crowd for allowing him this amazing experience. He ended on sedate classic Know Me Well, before departing the stage to make way for the headline act. Given this young singer’s immense talent, I doubt it will be long before he is back on this stage headlining his own show.
Roo Panes @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 08/10/2015 Words By Lauren Patel and Photography by Kalpesh Patel