Lucy Rose transferred the brooding aesthetic of new album No Words Left to a wonky stage at the City Varieties Music Hall, as she and her band battled with Norovirus and the lighting tech.
It’s a rare delight to enjoy a gig without the persistent distraction of mobile phones. Though, on this night, the cosy, seated, ornate theatre’s “no filming” policy allowed for deep and mindful listening. Rose, assisted for the entirety of the performance by an exceptional cast of accompanying musicians, expressed her gratitude, humbly insisting that “these guys are the talented ones, not me”. Alongside her, a three-piece string section, guitarist, bassist and percussionist – who provided subtle bongo textures. Standing out amongst the band, was the bassist, whose Pino Palladino inspired fretless bass playing added melody to the bare-bones material from No Words Left.
Presenting as a red-headed renaissance woman, Rose displayed her mastery on both piano and guitar throughout. As she grew into the evening, Rose began to provide humorous anecdotes about life on the road, battling sickness bugs. She said how this night was extra special, as it was the first gig of the tour that nobody in the band had vomited before taking to the stage. Also, quite astonishingly, amidst the darkened theatre Rose pointed out one fan that she recognised from an encounter on Twitter, and then wished the lucky fan a happy birthday.
Despite the all-around exceptional performance and affable interaction with the audience, Rose acknowledged her new artistic direction, and almost seemed to apologise for her quote “depressing” new album. Though, it appeared that the audience were in fact very approving of Rose’s moodier new flavour on this night.
I must mention, the BLOODY LIGHTING TECH, who, despite Rose’s wishes, persisted in shrouding the rest of the band in darkness – whilst Rose was spot-lit. But then worst of all, deprived the audience of an encore, as he/she turned on the house lights during the ceremonial interval – which led the audience to vacate the venue. As we were leaving, the sound tech showed us the setlist for the night, which included a two-song encore.
“Sacked in the morning, you’re getting sacked in the morning”.
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