Live review: Roxanne de Bastion UK album tour
Support: Anaïs Vila, Thom Morecroft
Date: Friday 5th May 2017
Venue: Leaf on Bold Street
Reviewer: Ian D Hall, Liverpool Sound and Vision
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Liverpool will always throw open its arms to the adventurous, to the talented and the seekers of more enlightened thought, it is the nature of the city to do so, it is in entwined in the DNA of its people to share it, to talk about it and not keep it a secret. To travel across Europe, perhaps in the most awkward of times to hit the continent in an era of peace, to play in the home of British popular music is to be saluted. It is the side effect of the vote to leave Europe that people forget that art cannot exist without an audience, to have the conversation and to learn is a prerequisite of being human, the inquisitiveness to learn something new from another culture an unalienable right to the open minded.
Art will always have a home in Liverpool, and it is art that flourishes when you hear the voice of Anaïs Vila taking hold of a venue such as Leaf. The party spirit outside the building may have been loud and in some cases crass, the sense of a Friday overture after a week of seamless Monday Blues a major factor in anybody’s reasoning when it comes to shedding the inhabitations, and yet inside Leaf, the music was intense, captivating enough to make the noise of any party soon fade into the distance.
Opening for Roxanne de Bastion on the night of her album launch was always going to be a tough ask for anyone, yet for Ms. Vila it was greeted with a Catalan smile, a sense of demure and giving and one that never suffered any pre-match nerves.
Guided perhaps the sense of occasion but in no way overawed by it, Ms. Vila took the stage at Leaf and with many of the lovers of the Liverpool Acoustic in attendance, offered a huge and unbridled perspective of music from the southern side of Europe, the sense of glittering sea that so many of us visit but never really pay attention to outside of bathing beside, the temptation of the dish never tried or the avenue of local shops not paid enough respect; all came into view as Ms. Vila produced a set of real intrigue and cool.
With songs such as Em Pardo, The Calm, the sensational Come Back and Dance. Temptant La Sort and I Don’t Need You all playing their part in making sure that was a true delight of an evening, Anaïs Vila stole the hearts of the crowd in attendance and surely guaranteed that she would be in much demand in Liverpool again.
A great set, a collection of remarkable songs that led to something different, the sense of ever growing change and learning on offer, if only we would open our minds and ears a little more.
Published on Liverpool Sound and Vision
Thom Morecroft © 2017 Adrian Wharton
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
If ever there is a poll for the greatest artist to come out of Shropshire, there had better be a vote included on the ballot sheet for Thom Morecroft, not that such things in the end are important but for the man who made Liverpool his home and produces the type of music in which the veins inside the body crackle and pop with shuddering excitement, to which the nerves glisten with the sweat of anticipation and the joy of the smile is never far from the lips, such an accolade is always awaiting to be said with great sincerity.
It is there in every performance he makes, a seemingly effortless motion in which his voice his absolute king and in which the value of the song writing continues to impress. It was within the airy setting of Leaf in which he was support to Roxanne de Bastion, which such temperament and guile was once more in so much evidence, that in between the songs his wonderfully placed wit was stored and in songs such as Daisy, Rabbit Eyes and the outstanding Sexy Shade of Sunburn, the poet was revealed.
Watching Thom Morecroft on stage is more than a pleasure, it is a moment in which the senses come together with the brain and applauds the beast in the mind for having good taste. The sheer introspection of the work is there on the page and with all seriousness be looked upon in the same delicate way as perhaps reading A.E. Housman, for in both gentlemen can be seen the virtue of the Shropshire Lad.
It is in the voice that the sense of the hypnotic talks to you, the slight quiver at the back of throat in which a thousand arrows of the wistful and the doomed are aimed at the centre of the lavish words and the intricate nature of the songs. The voice quivers and the voice sings, never a dull moment in between and as songs such as Give Me A Why, The Beast and the much called for encore of Coming Up For Air paraded round Leaf like a squadron of angels looking to playfully join in the festivities, Thom Morecroft once again took an audience to brink of Heaven before guiding them gently back to reality.
With a sense of hesitation it should be said of Thom Morecroft that like Housman, is the most wonderful talent who knows instinctively how to make his audience love the evening beyond compare; a soul who is immersed in his craft and can make a blind man see the sense of absolute of art.
published on Liverpool Sound and Vision
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
People tend to confuse themselves sometimes, the Universe is spectacular like that, believing that to be the best requires the finest of everything, the largest venue perhaps, the abundance of both food and drink on tap, and in this day and age either all for nothing or they are willing to brag about in the Netherspehere of social media that they paid thousands of pounds to a tout outside and that makes the evening perfect.
Whilst perhaps there is no argument when it comes to the best venues, most people would not turn down the opportunity to see their favourite recording artist live at say The Carnegie Hall, The Royal Albert or the Vienna Opera House, sometimes just a room full of people and a musician who smiles with absolute sincerity can blow the Royal Albert Hall into the Thames and see it sink below a tidal wave of envy and over priced goodwill.
To host an album launch in Leaf on Bold Street, an intimate setting, one that sits perfectly for a musician of cherished renown, works wonders for the general atmosphere of the area, and on a night when there truly was an abundance of music going on in the city, ranging from the ever impressive Alan O’ Hare’s Only Child at Magnet through to the outstanding Hegarty at Studio 2, to find yourself in the company of Roxanne De Bastion on arguably the most unspoiled Liverpool nights was to know that the venue does not have to be grand, the audience does not need to have spent a couple of hundred pounds in an exercise of looking cool, this was just an outstanding woman creating the most magical of evenings possible.
With Ms. de Bastion having already had two outstanding support acts pave the way for her set, the dynamic voice of Thom Morecroft and Catalan’s Anaïs Vila, the scene as ever in such moments that Time sees fit to let you sneak a peek through the window of pleasure, was made a night of cool, of smiles, of the unexpected brilliance in a cover and for an album launch which was just divine.
Armed with three musicians by her side, the graceful Patrick Pearson, Tim Langsford and Stuart Irwin, the first public showing of the album Heirlooms and Hearsay in Liverpool was one of great satisfaction and enjoyment.
With the songs Within and Some Kind of Creature setting the pace, what followed was heart jolting and impressive, the sense of Bold Street coming to a standstill as each song was played, ever present in the mind. With Thicker Skin, the gorgeous Train Tracks with its personal overtones and a truly remarkable, dare it be said even more alluring than the original, version of Outkast’s Hey Ya! making an appearance in an already beautiful night, Time not only allowed the visitor a peek through the windows, it opened the door and bade it welcome; this was arguably a night of high performance and one which no doubt would have fed up the hill to Magnet and across to Studio 2 as the eternal triangle of music which makes the city the true home of art, was rampant and brilliant.
Published on Liverpool Sound and Vision
Ian D Hall
Review © 2017 Ian D Hall, Liverpool Sound and Vision
Photos © 2017 Adrian Wharton
Live review: Roxanne de Bastion @ Leaf 05/05/17
Ian D. Hall was brought up in Birmingham and spent the vast majority of his teenage years in Bicester, near Oxford. He grew up loving music from a very early years. In the last ten years Ian has written reviews for the Birmingham Evening Mail, Liverpool Live, Chris High and the University of Liverpool’s L.S. Media web site. For the last year of his graduate degree he was joint Arts Editor for L.S. Media and it has been his privilege to write on many of the arts in Liverpool, Merseyside, the U.K. and the rest of the World, having reviewed gigs as far as away as Poland and Canada. Liverpool has been his home for the last eight years and is without doubt the most vibrant, most cultural part of the UK. His love of music and theatre has led him to see great bands and plays, not just in Liverpool but the wider artistic community. His dearest music loves are Punk, Progressive Rock, Metal, Rock, folk and pop. Ian D. Hall graduated from the University of Liverpool in June 2012 with a degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English. He now edits the Liverpool Sound and Vision website.
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