Acoustic Night at Kings, Norwich. Access to Music Showcase, 12 March 2014
On another ‘gig-hopping’ night, at Kings the only set I really caught to properly comment on was actually the one I was really hoping to catch, Natalie Lake. Tonight was a showcase of some of the rich talent from the successful and productive Access to Music course in the city. Hosted by the very friendly and welcoming Kings, which had a lovely candlelit ambiance, a decent PA and its distinctive and colourful stage backdrop.
Natalie was the final act of the evening and as well as playing a few songs I hadn’t heard before, she also played a couple of brand new songs, one of which I was definitely hearing for the first time. She seems to be gaining in confidence and played with a relaxed ease and spoke well between songs, explaining that her cover of Laura Marling’s ‘Failure’ although a sad song, always made her feel better when she played it. The songs I knew were played very well and note perfect, but this evening I was particularly interested in the new songs and those I hadn’t heard before.
Without Him has a deceptively simple structure which with the repetitions really adds to its mood, and the sad, reflective lyrics work very well. The other new one to me almost surprised me with its power, and indeed anger in the lyrics and guitar playing, repeated chords played louder and faster than I have heard from her before. Certainly adding more variety to her repertoire, and a successful, powerful work too.
As with Milly Hirst, her lyrics are personal, honest, sometimes displaying vulnerability, melancholy and reflective introspection. Done well it is extremely effective, moving and talks in a connecting way with the listener. Both these artists do that impressively well and are big local favourites of mine. Both have talent, write articulately. They also both have incredible voices which they use with restraint, knowing when to keep it simple and when to let it really fly. Absolutely beautiful listening.
A bit earlier in the evening I was also able to catch a short part of a set by Stromm, sounding in fine form at Olives.