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Live Review: Lucy Rose
October 19, 2014
Lucy Rose’s transition from Bombay Bicycle Club backing singer into fully fledged acoustic singer songwriter has made for fascinating observation since the release of debut album ‘Like I Used To’ back in September 2012.
The delicately constructed blend of hushed vocals swelling to strident instrumental led highs were the template for an album capturing the acute range of emotional confusion when invested in youthful romance. Seeing her performance at the intimate Liverpool East Village Arts Club on October 16th was a heart-warming antidote to the increasingly biting starkness of autumnal evenings.
Barring intermittent summer festival appearances road-testing new material to coincide with her impending follow-up LP, Rose used the sold-out OXJAM charity event as a tentative first foray towards returning to the UK gigging scene.
The appropriately balanced setlist included tantalising glimpses into future sonic direction, with fresh tracks showcasing Rose’s newly found piano playing talents alongside stripped back songwriting on the openly lamenting standout ‘I Tried’. This led on to more leftfield advances into near r&b territory on the breathless vocal delivery over a fuzzy bed of synth cowbell rhythms found on ‘Cover Up’.
Hanging out with BBC lead singer Jack Steadman and co has clearly rubbed off on Rose, with opening new song, tentatively titled ‘Koln’, featuring spiralling melodies over disco-funk bass and razor sharp lead guitar plucks. This then segued into more familiar territory of debut album tracks including the slow burning serenade ‘Watch Over’.
A captivating performance of haunting nostalgic tear-jerker ‘Shiver’ sent the Liverpudlian audience into a collectively attentive hypnotic gaze, before descending into rapturous closing applause. A rare outing for bonus album track ‘All I’ve Got’ with its revealing tale of achingly passionate affection offered a welcome prelude to crowd sing-alongs ‘Middle of the Bed’ and ‘Bikes’, after which Rose and her talented band retreated offstage.
The singer then returned for an unaccompanied acoustic performance which accentuated the mesmerising softness in her soulful honey-soaked vocal chords; before the band returned for a final run through of album favourite ‘Night Bus’. This closed a wholly positive set, which saw a receptive audience take to newer material in the same vein as more notable tracks, thereby providing an encouraging barometer for future releases.
Rose’s endearing persona onstage portrays an ever humbled degree of elated surprise. Audience members eagerly shouted words of encouragement throughout, when she would tentatively announce the playing of what in her words were occasionally the more ‘depressing’ songs. She also alluded to the fact that record label bosses had intimated “acoustic music doesn’t sell” – a notion which received a chorus of astonished boos.
When acoustic music is as emotionally revealing and cuttingly relatable as the songs on display during this performance, it is difficult to believe Rose will have any trouble garnering anything but a positive reaction to music which provides an enticing alternative to chart topping vapidity.
Photography by Gaz Jones