10th April | St George’s
Photos: Mar Reyes
As though the climb up Park Street isn’t enough, the set of steps at the front of the beautiful St. George’s really tops it all off. Is there anyone who can endure the climb without being at least a little out of breath? It was worth it though, to arrive with a purple-orange, spring sunset sky as its backdrop.
With the new extension feeling a little like a cafeteria, I swiftly made way to my seat in the much grander hall, chandeliers sparkling up above and the original church mural lording over me. Support act, Samantha Crain sauntered onto the stage and instantly enraptured me with her sympathetic acoustic guitar playing and effortless transitions from sensitive to growling vocals. Just as her song described “Falling into the night,” her body fell and swayed with her melodies, her entire being encapsulated by the emotion she pours into her music.
Almost as soon as I realised her likeness to Richard Thompson, she explained how one of her songs is inspired by his well-known ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’. She humbly mentioned his fourteen fingers and her inferior skills, yet her songs conjured my consciousness indefinitely. My ears and eyes did not neglect Samantha for even a moment of her set; sometimes I wished her songs lasted a little longer.
It was a bittersweet start to Lucy Rose’s set. She played at the grand piano and sang alone, with her band gradually folding in to the opening song. Sweet – wow! she can really engage an audience without even an acknowledgement of our presence. Bitter – it was an explicit reminder of her dark songwriting and the mood that would accompany us for the rest of the evening. I braced myself for emotional impact.
As well as performing her latest album, No Words Left, she played older songs like ‘Second Chance’, with her unassuming bassist producing the most beautiful falsetto backing vocals. I was particularly taken by the percussion and strings (two violins and cello) in this piece which created compelling, uplifting movement.
She moved to the front of the stage and played guitar for ‘The Confines Of This World’, where the pace reclined again and the chorus, “‘Cause all I ever wanted was for you to feel proud, and everybody’s telling me I’m losing my mind,” triggered an inner aloneness to be lifted. Lucy’s exposed style is a reminder of the vulnerability of humanity and our parallels rather than discords.
Between songs, she gradually spoke a little more, after introducing her guitar tech as her husband, she jested at the peculiarity of her timing, as she went in to sing the introduction of the next song, “What does it take to break a man?” She has an innocent awkwardness and light-heartedness that makes you feel at ease, especially if you are aware of your similar clumsy traits.
My only agitation was that some of the songs felt a little anti-climatic, suggesting at what could have been with dynamic growth, but not quite producing the resolution I craved. This said, the eerie freedom of tunes like ‘Conversation’ and ‘No Words Left’ broke up the otherwise fairly consistent formation of her work. I hope, as she expressed her desire to during the show, that she learns to stop apologising for her sad songs, as they were spirit-cleansing like no other. I cried a little, I wanted to weep.
See the video for ‘Conversation’ here: