Those who read this blog regularly (maybe three of you? haha i kid i kid...two?) will know I have a fondness for Miss the Great, and tonight was the first time I've managed to catch her live, in about 4 years of fandom. With my current obsession of all things female and beautiful voiced, could there be a better act to have seen tonight?
First up were grunge-pop trio Young Husband, comprising of Emmy the Great's live band's guitarist and drummer, and another bassist, playing songs that would fit perfectly onto the 90's indie rock soundtrack of programmes such as Teachers and Asif (remember those?), with their laid back indie rock fitting somewhere in the middle of Blur and Pavement. The only criticism I had with Young Husband was that although they obviously have an ear for a catchy melody, they tend to take the melody, and add a strange chord change at the end so the melody ends on an almost sour note. Except for this occasional self-destructive tendency, they were a great little band to kick off proceedings.
Second to grace the stage were Exlovers, a band i'd recently heard good things about, and I was amazingly impressed with them tonight. Their songs were filled with sparkling guitars, beautiful male/female vocals, and the odd bit of percussion and glockenspiel. Each one of their more slower or midtempo songs were fantastic, lulling me into a lovely little dreamworld until the songs finished. However, the more uptempo songs that they played weren't as special, but held their own as tight little indie pop songs. I can't help but anticipate an LP by these, they had a lot of special moments on the glee club stage.
Finally, the main act, Emmy the Great. Starting off with just herself, a guitar and "The Hypnotist's Son", she had the audience in her hands from the start. Joined by the rest of her band, renditions of "We Almost Had A Baby" and "Dylan" followed soon in all their foot-tapping glory. A definite highlight for me was the mid-set rendition of "First Love", the title track of her recently released album, and a semi-homage to "Hallelujah" ("the original leonard cohen version" sings Emmy), with the song ending with the band playing faster and faster leaving you almost feeling breathless as the song finally comes to a halt.
Near the end of the set, a rendition of new album track "We Are Safe" brought a song that I had previously overlooked as album filler into it's own special spotlight (listening to it now, i'm noticing how uplifting this song really is). Emmy then finished up proceedings with a solo acoustic rendition of "her first song" "Canopies and Grapes", and even though her guitar strap breaks halfway through the song ("i'll have to do this like they used to," quips the singer, "before string was invented") she continues on almost unphased, and leaves the audience feeling pretty happy I think. What a way to spend the middle of a week.
Emmy the Great's debut album "First Love" is out now. You can hear more of her here, more of Exlovers here, and more of Young Husband here.