No longer confined to the label of ‘Bombay Bicycle Club’s backing singer’ Lucy Rose is becoming the latest figurehead of the emerging sea of ‘indie-folk’ artists and although her attempts to take cover from the inevitable comparisons to Laura Marling that’ll come pouring down won’t be helped by her choice of ex-Marling guitarist Pete Roe for support, all the signs are that Rose is blossoming as a solo artist. (Pun Intended)
If I’m honest I don’t even remember Roe coming on stage, he just seemed to materialize clouded by a green glow. This set the scene for his performance. Perched on the end of the stage under a flap of fringe he picked at his guitar playing a blues-y style of folk guitar. Although lyrically his tracks struggled to stand up on their own, his voice was so magical each song seemed to extend and blend into the next as he appeared to get lost within himself. (Or just didn’t have enough material for you slot…). whatever the reason it produced a striking set for the early comers within the deceptively large ‘temple’ room of the lovely HMV Institute situated in the hmmm let’s say ‘charmingly frowzy’ area of Birmingham known as Digbeth.
Soon Lucy and her tight band of friends shuffled out in front of the 300 strong crowd remarking on how they ‘never expected to sell out this one’. Lucy greets the crowd like a group of old friends ,pointing out people she remembers meeting at previous gigs. Opening with ‘First’ her voice hits each note in a mesmerizing manner as the band helps give the songs grandeur. She follows up with album opener ‘Red Face’ and first single ‘Lines’ by which time the crowd has given up on trying to sing along as no one can reach the same tones as Lucy – uniform lip syncing descends .
‘Shiver’, a personal highlight from her debut ‘Like I used to’, and ‘ Night Bus’ show a darker side to her sound; during which I hear people being actively ‘shusshh’ed as the crowd try to take in everything. Singles ‘Middle Of The Bed’ and ‘Bikes’ show how her music has grown with the support of her band , who seemed to spend the whole set staring at the floor as if terrified to take any eye contact away from their singer. But the band support isn’t always a positive. ‘Watch over’ feels saturated with noise with a slap bass line and and over the top crescendo that feels at odds with the soft vocal feel of the track.
After the mandatory affair of a faked leaving, Lucy finishes with a magical rendition of ‘Don’t You Worry’; a soft little gem of a track leaving just time to announce her sales of homemade jams and teas at the merchandise stall – lovely.