Music | Woman’s Hour @ Belgrave Music Hall 26/09

Woman’s Hour have the potential to be incredibly intimidating.

Meticulous in their visuals, performance and song-craft, the Northern reared four-piece band are self-confessed perfectionists. And yet, as their emotive lyrics suggest, they are very much human. Two songs into their set Fiona beckons the audience closer, with a side-note to stage management “I thought a fire had started on stage,” she laughs, “a little less smoke please.”

The monochromatic visuals are a testament not only to Woman Hour’s now iconic artwork but also to the strengths of their debut album. Conversations is at once both intricate and refined, and the black and white set-up at Belgrave Music Hall ensures that all attention is on the music itself. However, the live rendition of the album is by no means a replica – the addition of a drummer lends the performance a certain urgency that Conversations lacks. This new energy injects bursts of hope into the haunting melodies of Fiona and Will Burgess that soar over lazy synthpop and spun-out guitar riffs. The low-key, ambient backdrop allows Fiona’s lyrics to shine but it’s the drums that translate the album from an intimate affair into an immersive experience.

Highlights of the set include the confident delivery and expressive choreography of the title track ‘Conversations’, the stunning melodies in ‘Our Love Has No Rhythm’ and a down-tempo and ethereal cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’.

Closing with ‘Darkest Place’, the band graciously thank the crowd for their support, melting into the shadows before reappearing at the merchandise desk. The band go out of their way to greet each fan individually, signing their purchases. This personal touch shows how highly Woman’s Hour value every little detail, every sign of appreciation – something that other artists seem to forget far too easily.

Emily Watts


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