Gig Review + Photography by John Hayhurst

For a quintessential British singer songwriter (plus superb band) concert experience then look no further than Lucy Rose, inspiring charismatic storytelling with a beautiful voice in the finest independent music venue in the North – Leeds Brudenell Social Club. What a magical night!

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For the last 6-8yrs I’ve dipped in and out of Lucy Rose’s songbook, now 3 studio albums worth and every track merits more than that first glance or snoop. I’m not keen on the mediocre and sticky sweet pop songs that you can really like for 5 minutes and then get bored, and thankfully there’s nothing like that on a Lucy Rose record, sure you might singalong to some of the happy bits, but they are few and far between, the songs demand to be heard properly – without interrupting chat. A Lucy Rose show is much the same, you are there to watch but actually really there to listen, and to hear real life breathed through those records that you have mostly heard on your headphones on the bus or the tube, or maybe in your bedroom on a knackered cd player.

The stage lighting is very minimal tonight and as Lucy isn’t the tallest performer, I doubt the back of the sold out Community Room saw much of her at all, my vantage point was 2nd row from the front so I have no problem and as the lights dim even more, we hear the opening strains of the same intro to her latest album ‘Something’s Changing’. In fact tonight she will play the first 3 tracks in sequence, and by the end of the night we will have heard everything off that record.

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When ‘Strangest of Ways’ finishes, she breathes a sigh of relief and criticises herself for having such a difficult start to an album. The truth is we didn’t notice how difficult, because it looked and sounded so effortlessly beautiful, understated and true to the record. Whilst the nerves and butterflies were no doubt flying around inside, that just added to the emotion pouring out, and the voice…..that voice is something that takes you to a happy thoughtful place, it seems to resonate with calm and eradicates anything left of the day’s dullness. I stood there (probably open mouthed) and let the soundwaves wash over, leaving only the Goosebumps on my skin as a trace of what had just happened.

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Slipping between acoustic guitars and piano Lucy Rose delivers each and every song tonight and helplessly wins everyone over in the room with her charm, personality and that incredible voice. ‘Middle of the Bed’ is despatched in quick time and it is a rare glimpse back into the past, as her newer tracks feel much more mature, and that re-emphasises her growth as a songwriter. Something that she almost decided to step back from, had it not been for her recent journey to play in front of fans in South America. Now reinvigorated with some personal life changing experiences, we hope for more inspired tunes to go with the last album.

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At the piano with the band she plays ‘Nebraska’ (which is a video you must watch if just to see Danny Dyer as a female impersonator) and then she is completely solo for ‘Your Eyes’, which becomes a quite magical stripped back version, complex in the usual vocal layering but I think I prefer this live version. Apparently, the reason Lucy was left on stage alone was because the band need a beer break, but she makes 2 of them suffer later by getting them to be 2/3rds of The Staves on ‘Floral Dresses’ – which they remarkably pull off.

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Lucy could probably do a reasonable stand-up routine in-between songs, particularly delivering a quality punchline after explaining that ‘Moirai’ is the Greek God of Fate and the song is about the conversation she would have with this deity, if she had the chance….“Because He’s a Dick”.

‘Shiver’ has been a long time favourite of my playlists and one where we are encouraged to sing along to, trying miserably and certainly no match for the Rose vocals, we’ll save the best for ‘Bikes’ and “everybody scream out loud” – we can do that!

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Our final encore is a song that even Lucy finds too cheerful, so she is quite happy if people want to leave early. We don’t of course and ‘Like An Arrow’ is a welcome respite at the end of an emotional night, although it had a false ending which she has to replay to get it right. For me Lucy Rose gets it right every time that I’ve seen her play live, there is such humility in her approach which is very British, and a personable character which is endearing, and then vast emotion felt in her voice that the likes of only Joni Mitchell could probably match. There are many dates left on this tour (not many tickets mind) so please do yourself a massive favour and go see our English Rose!

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SETLIST: Intro, Is This Called Home, Strangest Of Ways, Love Song, Middle Of The Bed, Nebraska, Our Eyes, End Up Here, Floral Dresses, I Can’t Change It All, No Good At All, Shiver, Second Chance, Moirai, Bikes, Find Myself, Soak It Up, Like An Arrow

LISTENING: Somethings Changing album released July 2017

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