BY TER STAFF
Minutes ago, singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes stepped off stage at opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair, after bringing his World Tour to Milwaukee, his biggest headlining show to date. Performing at the fair’s Main Stage, Mendes was also joined by Island Records labelmate, 18-year-old British singer, James TW. Both young singers delivered memorable and polished performances for their Wisconsin fans, that were far from amateur, showing that both Mendes and James TW are especially talented and experienced beyond their years.
As fans continued to fill in past 7:30, James TW kicked things off for the Milwaukee crowd. Not only did James set the tone for the rest of the night, but it is hard to imagine a better opening act for the night’s headliner. Shawn Mendes and James TW share more than just their label. Both teenage artists have big voices and similar styles, who each standout with their impressive songwriting, all while finding home behind an acoustic guitar.
And although, James is just barely old enough to vote (by American standards), he is no stranger to music. Named after his parents’ favorite musician, James Taylor, James TW first picked up a guitar at the age of 12, and he hasn’t looked back since. He draws influences from Ed Sheeran, John Mayer and BB King, he also plays the piano, he places a strong emphasis on the lyrics of his records, and these are just a few of the things that add clarity as to why one of Island Record’s youngest artists seems far ahead of the game. James gained a number of new fans in Milwaukee tonight, with his performance of his single ‘When You Love Someone’ and a few other records from his debut EP, First Impressions, which released earlier this year.
Moments after James TW said his goodbyes to fans, it was time for the night’s headliner, Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes. Even younger than James TW, Shawn Mendes can barely see a Rated-R movie, yet it seems like he has been a staple in pop music for quite sometime already. Initially Mendes gained a core fan base from the mobile phone application, Vine. However while many artists and personalities, become and remain “Vine famous” and never see a social reach outside the app, such was not the case for Mendes. After landing a deal with Island, Mendes released his breakout single ‘Stitches’ which soared to the Top 10 in the U.S. and Canada. An EP, debut album and huge supporting tour with Taylor Swift later, Mendes has a number of radio hits under his belt and is one of the most exciting acts in pop music today, with no signs of slowing down.
Mendes’ set tonight was everything that his fans wanted. His performance of course consisted of all his biggest records to date, including ‘Life of the Party’, ‘Ordinary’, his newest single ‘Treat You Better’, and even some fan favorite and lesser known records from his debut album, Handwritten. The highlight of the night though came as rain and lighting almost cut the show short. Near the end of his set, the weather caused a power outage on stage, luckily for fans however, production was able to get things back running for one last song, Shawn’s biggest record to date, ‘Stitches’.
Throughout the night you had to remind yourself that Mendes is still just a kid by many standards, because it doesn’t show. He has a big voice, he stands at about 6′ tall, and his performances are anything but amateur. Pop Music will certainly have a place for Shawn Mendes for many years to come.
Check out our photos from tonight’s performance below and see the remaining dates on Shawn Mendes’ World Tour here with support from James TW through August 21st.
Photos by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration