The Lantern – 30th January | Photos: Laura Palmer
Using democracy as a platform for a set list is always a brave move, and after a particularly rambling request for an unnamed song involving sheep that a member of the crowd saw her perform on a YouTube video petered out (alas after many minutes spent searching I have yet found it). I wondered how wise an idea it would prove to be. Thankfully Lucy Rose dealt with the request with humour, tact and charm before performing one of her songs that definitely exists.
But moving away from a rigid set list provides uniqueness and the unique is always special. After two album releases, an expanded sound and travelling with a full band. It was apparent that this tour was a chance to take some older songs out of the cupboard, blow the dust off and enjoy them once again, but this time from a new position and perspective.
Away from the band and seated on a stage adjoined with lamps, there was an almost bedroom-like quality to the atmosphere which being a member of a seated audience also contributed to. It felt like we were guests to her house, not audience members.
It was apparent that this tour was a chance to take some older songs out of the cupboard”
In between songs she was the perfect host, charming, self-deprecating, telling us stories behind the songs, insights about the dynamics of working with her band – and the reasons why some songs do not feature on tour and the time constraints that venues can impose on artists.
During the songs and Lucy Rose supplying the guitar and vocals, and Swampmother (also known as Alex) switching between the cello and the piano depending on the song, the set was a constant showcase of stripped down, acoustic song writing. And this is the Lucy Rose that I personally prefer, the one of the outstanding album Work it Out, full of intimacy and introspection.
Stand out tracks such as ‘Night Bus’ and ‘Shiver’ show the epitome of her soft, warm voice while more rousing numbers such as Bikes were supplemented with harmonious audience participation to provide the crescendos. There can be a tendency in acoustic sets where the pace and mood remains somewhat monotonous, not so here.
“In between songs she was the perfect host, charming and self-deprecating”
Democratic set lists also often provided rarities and firsts. We were treated to the first acoustic rendition of ‘First’, which added an entirely new dimension to the song and some of Lucy Roses’ influences. Including a cover of ‘What a Wonderful World’ and ‘Kooks’.
The latter was originally prepared for on the One Show after Bowie’s death but for a last minute request from the producer for her to learn and play ‘Starman’ since it was more mainstream – resulting in Rose pulling out of the show as it felt weird and disrespectful to Bowie – something to be applauded.
“I was pleased to see a lack of mobile devices”
In this age of social media, smartphones and selfies it is perhaps the greatest compliment to a performer to see a lack of screen light. In one of the few moments when I tore my eyes away from the stage I was pleased to see a lack of mobile devices.
Watching this performance through a phone would have seemed unabashedly rude, like spending a dinner party texting other people. It was an evening for undivided attention and there was no need to be constantly trying to capture the moments to share. For once, being there was enough.
Check out ‘Like An Arrow’ right here: