Mar 29, 2019

Lucy Dacus @ Oxford Art Factory

Firstly, Lucy Dacus is an incredible talent. Secondly, her show Wednesday night at the Oxford Art Factory was wonderful in so many ways. Thirdly, I can't wait to see her again. Ms Dacus has released two highly acclaimed albums. They are intricate, intelligent records full of grace and wit. It was an enormous pleasure to hear tracks from both on Wednesday night. Naturally the set leaned more heavily on last year's 'Historian'. My favourite was the blockbuster of a song in 'Timefighter' and the serenely powerful 'Yours & Mine'. Obviously the greatness that is 'Night Shift' received the biggest cheers. It lifted the roof for sure. Lucy also played two new songs solo and both were honestly fantastic. My absolute favourite song of the night though was 'Map on a Wall'. It was epic and extraordinary. I had tweeted earlier in the day that I would love it if she could play it so I like to think that I played a small part in the song being played. Special mention should also go the band. They were great. Totally in sync with Lucy creating a rapturous and euphoric sound. A night to be long remembered.

Set List
Fool's Gold (Lucy solo)
The Shell
Green Eyes, Red Face
La Vie En Rose (Edith Piaf cover)
Yours & Mine
Map on a Wall
I Don't Wanna Be Funny Anymore
Night Shift
New Song (Lucy solo) - "I would kill him"

Mar 16, 2019

Neko Case @ Metro Theatre

Neko Case possesses quite simply the best voice I have ever heard. It is pure and radiant. Strong and sensual. It evokes many emotions. It transcends and cuts through. So naturally any opportunity to see her live is one to be excited about. So it proved Tuesday night at the Metro Theatre. Sadly it wasn't a full house, about three quarters full perhaps. But those fortunate to be there witnessed greatness.

The set was a great chance to showcase her latest album in last year's excellent 'Hell-On'. The songs, she played ten from that album, shimmered and shined. Backed by an excellent band as per usual I especially loved 'Winnie', 'Halls of Sarah' and the superb 'Curse of the I-5 Corridor'. With an ever growing back catalogue to choose from we still received some deep cuts such as the emotionally resonant 'Hex' and the glorious 'Deep Red Bells'. I think my two favourites of the night though were the eternally melodic 'Hold On, Hold On' and the foot stomping 'Man'. It was a night to celebrate the greatness of music and the greatness of Neko Case.

Set List
Pitch or Honey
Last Lion of Albion
Deep Red Bells
City Swans
Margaret vs. Pauline
Maybe Sparrow
Calling Cards
Bad Luck
Curse of the I‐5 Corridor
Gumball Blue
Oracle of the Maritimes
Look for Me (I'll Be Around)
This Tornado Loves You
Halls of Sarah
Dirty Diamond
Hold On, Hold On

The Pharaohs

Mar 7, 2019

Snail Mail @ Oxford Art Factory

Lindsey Jordan is Snail Mail. What was a solo project has now become a band and that band was in full effect Tuesday night at a sold out Oxford Art Factory. Fresh off last year's debut album in 'Lush' it was a short and sweet set that effectively showed off Jordan's considerable talents. She has great range as a singer with powerful voice and is also a great guitarist on her red Fender Jaguar. The four piece band was tight and robust giving a great bedrock to the songs on display. As said the set was relatively short, going around an hour. But it was deeply sweet. Especially songs like 'Dirt' and 'Deep Sea'. The biggest cheer of the night was for the wonderful 'Pristine', which basically had the whole room singing along. I think this genuinely shocked Jordan. It must be quite a thrill to be so warmly received half a world away. But it was totally deserved. Snail Mail are a force to be reckoned with.

(Opening Jam)
Heat Wave
Golden Dream
Speaking Terms
Let's Find an Out
Full Control
Deep Sea
Anytime (Lindsey solo)
Stick (Lindsey solo)

Mar 5, 2019

Beach House @ Enmore Theatre

Beach House have a sound like no one else. It is singular, unique and oh so mesmerising. Monday night the threesome stunned and bewildered us at the Enmore Theatre. They have become fairly regular visitors to this country over the years and I have seen them before but they are definitely an act I will never tire of. Their sound wraps itself around you softly and quietly. It captures you and doesn't let you go. Victoria Legrand is a hypnotic presence on stage. She almost hides in the background on her keyboards but she is the central figure. Her voice is located in a deep register and it is spell binding. Situated on either side are Alex Scally on guitar and James Barone on drums. Together the three musicians concoct layers of sound laced with melody and drama. A slight quibble was that the sound mix wasn't quite right as I thought the drums were a fraction too heavy. But apart from that it was another great night in the presence of Beach House.

The set list was wide and varied, although leaning heavily on last year's excellent album in '7'. Those songs just boomed live. Especially the eerie 'Black Car' and the crashing drama of 'Lemon Glow'. 'Drunk in LA' was also a tremendous highlight. Some of my favourites weren't played. Sadly evergreen songs such as 'Silver Soul' and '10 Mile Stereo' were excluded although I was grateful to hear the sublime 'Take Care' one more time. As a bonus though we received the barnstorming 'Elegy to the Void' which escalated into a cacophony of sound. By the end we were all taken over by the display of music. The encore of the untouchable 'Myth' and the pile driving 'Dive' only confirmed the greatness of the night.

Set List
Dark Spring
Walk in the Park
Drunk in LA
Space Song
Black Car
Elegy to the Void
Take Care
Girl of the Year
Master of None
Heart of Chambers
Lemon Glow