Sunday 14 June 2015

Kathryn Williams, Robert Vincent (and us) at Leaf, Liverpool, Wednesday 10th June

On Tuesday 9th June, all we had planned for Wednesday night was a quiet evening in.  However, we ended up opening for Kathryn Williams (supported by Robert Vincent) at Leaf in Liverpool City Centre.

Originally, The Coral's Lee Southall was due to open the gig, but unfortunately had to pull out at the last minute due to illness (hopefully he’s much better now). This left Kathryn Williams without an opening act, and a twitter call went out for a replacement.

(At that point we were sat in the back yard writing a shopping list.)

When we went back inside, Ruth’s ‘phone had multiple notifications flashing up. We wondered what had happened.  Then we checked our twitter, Facebook and email. It turned out that our friend Helen, writer for Folk Radio UK and generally lovely person, (and who recently reviewed our single, Ella Brown, on her blog) had suggested that we might be a good fit for an opener, and Liverpool Acoustic had agreed (thank you, Graham), and were we available?

Well, we were over the moon, and once we were told it was fine to bring along Ruth’s little boy on the night, we set to work, putting together a set list for the 25 minutes (including our single, Ella Brown, a few pieces from our forthcoming album, Amateur Astronomy, and some traditional folk songs), and rehearsing.

Thanks to Kev McCready for this picture of us playing our set.
The next day, we went straight from our separate workplaces to Leaf and when we arrived, we were lucky enough to catch the end of Kathryn’s soundcheck (which included a run through Mirrors, and involved loop pedals). After Rob Vincent’s soundcheck, then ours, we were raring to go; very excited, but somewhat daunted too. Kathryn and Robert were both lovely.

By eight o’clock a couple of friends had turned up to give us support, and the place was pretty full. It was probably the largest indoor crowd we’ve ever played to, and one minor finger-slip aside we thought we played a good, short, sweet set, and later that night, BBC Radio 2 DJ Janice Long (who was at the gig) seemed to agree; on her show, she said we were “amazing, absolutely mesmerising”.

Then, we could relax. Rob Vincent played a lovely set, full of mellow, tuneful songs, with lilting guitar and a wonderfully strong voice, ending with Demons, an incredibly honest song about overcoming fears. We'd definitely go and see him again. 

After that it was time for Kathryn Williams’ set. In addition to some earlier material, she played songs from her new album Hypoxia. As you might expect from an album based on Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, it got very intense at times (have you heard Cuckoo? Compellingly visceral and her performance was jaw-dropping) but Kathryn’s stage demeanour between songs added a light touch to it all. She ended by covering a Neil Young song with her sister on stage; a moving ending to a wonderful night. If you get chance to go and see her elsewhere on her tour you really must, and do buy her album!

We were so privileged to be able to open this gig, and we hope very much that people who attended to see Kathryn, and Rob, also enjoyed our set. A couple of people bought our album, Amateur Astronomy (it’s not out until 28th June but we took some copies along to the gig) and if that was you, we’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Thank you so much to Ben, Helen, Graham, Kathryn, Rob, Dylan and all at Leaf for having us, and for such an amazing night, and thank you Janice for your kind words.

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