The Library, London
“If you haven’t heard of him – which is a bit crazy – go check him out”
Such a strong line up meant there was uncommon talent right from the start. As Emily Faye pointed out, her guitarist Elliott Joseph was a singer in his own right, having recently released his Wild Atlantic Heart EP. Faye showcased her own beautiful voice and songwriting talent by opening with her joyful and restorative single, Open Road.
Two further songs from Faye’s 2018 EP Here I Am followed in quick succession; Game Over and Giving In. She was proud to say that the latter had been played on Radio 2 by Bob Harris; just before Willie Nelson, in fact!
The fourth song from the EP, Me For Me made an appearance towards the end of the set. As always, it was a cut above – the lyrics heartwarming and the vocals pure. She revealed that it was written during a song-a-day songwriters’ challenge.
Carving out a little extra time to play with (unclear how, given the packed line-up!), Faye and Joseph slipped in a song they’d written together to honour their respective grandparents, Masterpiece. They also praised Sue McMillan, the co-writer of Barefoot, who was in the crowd to offer support (and harmonies form the back of the room!)
Having roped the crowd in for finger clicks during Barefoot, she sensed they were warmed up enough for their starring role – singing along to the catchy chorus of Grow!
Emily Faye will be playing a round with Devon Mayson Trio, Demi Marriner and Jade Helliwell at The Islington on October 23. Get your tickets here.
“This songs about embracing all of your mistakes, especially when it comes to stupid boys…or stupid girls! Phew, won the room back!”
Despite, or perhaps because of, the challenges of the room – the crowd up close and precious little space on performance space, especially with the addition of a drummer to the standard round set up of her and guitarist Jon Wright – Liv Austen was especially animated.
Seeing that Faye had warmed the room up with ‘ohs’, she enlisted them in for ‘oohs.’ As Remember Monday and Jess Thristan brought a younger crowd, a fair few recognised Selena Gomez’ Back To You and needed no prompting to singalong.
Austen was convinced they could keep up the pace: “now we’ve warmed you up for oohs, you’re ready to ooh a bit more!” She was right. The intimate space was perfect for an upbeat, participatory song like The Next Time. She was impressed with the results: “that was in the top 3 oohs we’ve ever had!”
Aside from the oohs, Austen was in a good mood because it was so close to the release of her debut album, Miss Nobody (October 19). She was justifiably proud of it, as she should be of the slower, controlled reworking of Miss Nobody which is an explosive tour-de-force on record.
The heartbreaking song Whole Heart was particularly intense in this intimate room. Want It More also benefited from the ability to focus on Austen’s vocal skill.
She ended with Window Shopping which got the audience cheering and dancing. Those that could move, anyway – the room was getting pretty cosy by that point!
I’ll Cover You at Hackney Empire Bar on October 29 is brought to you by Liv Austen and Redrospective. Austen, Kaity Rae and Clara Bond will be performing each other’s songs and talking about things that matter. For tickers and info head to illcoveryoulive.com and follow us on @redrospective.
“There’s plenty of carpet for any of you shorties down the back”
Remember Monday saw what was up and fashioned a front row out of floor space. Kudos too to their forwarding thinking, having spent part of their soundcheck rearranging the room so that the excessively oversized chairs weren’t right at the front!
Austen had been chattier than usual but she had nothing on Remember Monday who were refreshingly honest – “I thought I just wet myself but no” and “SULA” were both references to the baking hot room (‘Sweaty Upper Lip Alert’!)
This was a welcome performance for Remember Monday who have been attracting attention since changing their name from Houston, and especially since appearing at Two Ways Home’s songwriters’ round, The Round Up.
Jailbreaker, a new song celebrating female power, was particularly memorable. The lead out was about right too: “What are we doing next? Another sassy tune!” There was time for their catchy song Drive about singing along to Dixie Chicks, a shout out to Tim from The Wandering Hearts on the birth of his baby (“we’ll tell him you say congrats!”), and a cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin‘. Entertaining stuff. You’ll definitely be seeing more of these three!
Remember Monday’s new single, Drive, which was produced by Tim of The Wandering Hearts, is out now. You can buy it on Amazon here (sponsored link).
“I’ve just had a wig thrown at me and it says yeehaw etc”
Yes, it was that kind of night! Each act brought their own fans; Jess Thristan’s fans brought in-joke props. As well as the wig, there was a shield sign referring to her song The Shield. That was a tune she wrote aged 15 which has stayed in the set due to the way it resonates with the fans, especially once she recorded with on piano with a 26 piece orchestra.
Another song that’s hit a chord was This Is Home, the title track of her album; they’ve named a star after it. It’s a good track, showing Thristan’s Northern roots: “This is home, where the people do your head in.”
Like the performers before her, she was well aware of the heat – “my hair’s going all Shania Twain over here!” – even though the crowd had thinned out a bit by the time she came on as it was getting late. Their loss.
Thristan does heartfelt and tender tracks very well. All the more impressive considering this was her first show with guitarist Vinnie. There was also impressive wordplay in songs like Aiming For Me, while Refund had bluesy elements. A great way to close out a night of hot talent.
Jess has shows in Manchester and Halifax coming up in November and December. Visit her website for details.