Saturday, 28 November 2015

Kathryn Williams & Michele Stodart: The Convent, Stroud - 27th November 2015

It had been a long day in London working, travelling on the tube back n forth from offices and depots: a bloody glorified courier for the day. Getting the train out west before the Friday night escape hordes I had two choices – feet up, chips, Gogglebox or make a trip out into the Cotswolds for an evening of live music in a new (to me) venue. Well I could do the latter and get some chips a some point, couldn’t I?

I’d missed (due to work) the last two Kathryn Williams shows that I had tickets too and spookily enough in between that had seen co-headliner Michele Stodart with brother Romeo as The Magic Numbers supporting McAlmont & Butler as well as being part of David & Bernard’s band. Must say I was so impressed by her opening set of the night – songs about guilt, loss, bitterness as she freely admitted herself before adding that she was alright really. The show came at the end of a writing week that Kathryn had organised and so both had freshly laundered material, often still nameless. One with the refrain “Are there any of the other sides of me that you couldn’t love” which was particularly heartfelt and moving with Romeo accompanying Michele on piano. Kathryn joined Michele throughout her set and played a co-composition “We Are The Lucky Ones” which shows that great things could come from collaboration.

It was really interesting to see Kathryn play songs from ‘Hypoxia’ (her album inspired by Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’) for the first time at JW3 in North London back at the start of the year and now hear how they have changed after she has lived with them on tour for several months. ‘Beating Heart’ with its ‘I am, I am, I can, I can’ echo has taken on a hopeful and mysterious air, really playing with the silence and tension in the atmosphere, ‘Tango With Marco’ even edgier and taut than before, rea menace and disgust in the vocals. The despair and unspoken anger in ‘Cuckoo’ in each line and note played, perfectly encapsulating the feelings of a disappointed parent scared and afraid for/of her child.

The set ended with a cover of Neil Young’s ‘I Believe In You’ which I didn’t see the significance of before but the opening lines “Now that you found yourself losing your mind \ Are you here again? \ Finding that what you once thought was real
Is gone and changing?” fit perfectly with what has gone before. This show, in a wonderful venue with awesome acoustics was the perfect balm to soothe those workday aches and pains in your head.

Sometimes it’s worth not just settling for what comfortable – go out, support you (not so) local venue and watch TV on catch-up at your leisure. That can be paused, rewound & replayed but great nights of live music exist in the heart and mind.
Although having said that you can watch the gig here

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