Over the past year or so Lucy Rose has created quite a stir in the blogosphere. That hype transferred into outstanding reviews for her album ‘Like I Used To’. Lucy Rose dropped in on Whelan’s for a Sunday night gig slap bang in the middle of her UK & Ireland tour.
Pete Roe was first on stage and for an opening act, had a healthy sized audience to perform to, showing the popularity of the headliner. As soon as Roe took his position, chatter in the venue dipped to a hush. Opening with the tender ‘There has to be a Reason‘, Roe has a really pure quality to his voice but outshining that is his guitar playing, sporting a beautiful style. One time Laura Marling cohort, Roe ups the tempo with ‘Oh Susannah‘ before finishing his set with ‘Carry On Like Before‘, which boasts a memorable refrain. Enough good things to check out his new album which will be out next year.
Whelan’s turns dark just before Lucy Rose and her band come to the stage. It’s a good job it was a cold night, as the venue’s capacity meant it was ‘get cosy with your neighbour’ time. Lucy and her four piece band start the set with ‘First‘ and it’s quite apparent, that those in attendance are more than just casual fans. There’s something quite endearing about Lucy Rose, she’s like the shy little sister you want to do well, but tonight she’s a bit chattier than usual. She thanks the crowd for “being so nice to Pete” and takes a minute to tune her guitar, while she explains that her songs have different tunings, each as “completely stupid as each other”. She introduces ‘All That I’ve Got‘, saying that it’s only on the deluxe album but how she still loves it anyway.
Throughout the set, Rose shows herself to be an accomplished singer and songwriter. While her vocals possess a pure and sometimes innocent quality, her songwriting echoes her drumming background. Stop/starts and rhythm changes keep each song moving forward and the listener interested. Her voice sits perfectly in her live band sound allowing the audience to hear every word she sings. It’s all stripped back and slowed down for ‘Shiver’, which allows Rose to showcase her voice and the emotion in the track oozes across the venue. The delicate musicianship is enhanced by some excellent electric slide guitar.
The gig then takes an unusual and quite humorous turn. The band are ‘attacked’ by what can only be deemed as the only fly in the building. It dances with death as it moves across the stage, guitars and arms are waved. Audience and band alike, are in fits of laughter. Lucy tries to squat it before someone calls “It’s behind you”. It was one of those gigs.. It lands on her mic before zooming off again, destined to go on the chanteuse mentions that ‘It’s getting weird in here’. Pete Roe comes to the rescue, handing a can of insect repellant to the singer. An audience member in the front row is entrusted with it and told to spray on sight. It’s quite a bonding experience.
The music starts up again with ‘Place‘, a song which lures you in with delicate niceties before the full band sound kicks in. The entire audience is singing and dancing along, the song rises and falls and could lead Rose to being compared to an instantly accessible Fiona Apple. A smile inches across Rose’s face during ‘Scar‘, the instrumentation fades to leave just backing vocals, Lucy and the audience singing.
Female singer songwriters sometimes get put in a little box, where they are all expected to moan and generally be disapproving of everything happening in their lives. They wouldn’t therefore appreciate the dancing everyone is partaking in during, soon to be rereleased single, ‘Middle of the Bed‘. The set passes much too quickly and Rose mentions how chatty she’s been, thanking Whelan’s for making her feel so relaxed. Cheers fill the venue from the opening notes of ‘Bikes‘ and the audience duly oblige to the line ‘Everybody scream out loud’. The energy that has built up between the band and audience reaches a peak. Before they even manage to leave the stage, the screams for ‘One more tune’ are deafening.
Lucy and her band return and she comments on how loud the crowd are saying ‘Now, that’s how you ask for an encore’ before saying that they didn’t perform encores at all their shows on the tour because they weren’t asked. For your scribe, this is a shocker as Lucy and her band have treated me, along with the rest of tonight’s audience with a better than first rate show, paired with fantastic musicality and energy throughout.
The banter is flying between audience and the stage, Lucy mentions her merchandise stand and her tea blend which she sells. Humourous boos ring around the venue when doesn’t know the name of a well known Irish brand. That doesn’t dampen the spirits as the audience get two more tunes, ‘It’s Alright‘ and ‘Don’t You Worry’.
This was more than just a gig, it was a ‘getting to know you’ Sunday night. It’s one of those gigs that people will say ‘Do you remember Lucy Rose when she was only started out, before she filled The O2?’. ‘Yeah, I was there!’
Lucy Rose Photo Gallery
Photos: Paul Dowd