Review: Lucy Rose at Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth

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Indie singer-songwriter Lucy Rose performed at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth on Saturday 14th November to a packed room of fans. The tenth out of thirteen dates of the tour, Lucy and her band were still riding high with a jubilant show.

After announcing that support act Chris Duncan had lost his voice, Lucy recruited her keys player Alex to step into his shoes. Under the name Swampmother, Alex proved her musical worth in her own right with heavy guitar and bluesy vocals. The second support act, a four man band called Flyte, have been championed by Lucy since she snatched them up to open her album preview show in June. Previously employed to support Bombay Bicycle Club on their 2014 tour, alongside Rae Morris, the East Londoners’ upbeat pop sound is the perfect soundtrack for some old school bopping. With bouncy guitar and retro sounding harmonies, Flyte are headed for big things. The group played tunes including new single ‘Please Eloise’, a tropical groove track with darker lyrics, as well as new, unnamed material. All in all, excitement is growing around Flyte’s explosion onto the scene. Plus, they’ve been included in Communion Music’s New Faces tour later on this month – they’re definitely ones to watch, listen and boogie to.

Lucy Rose opened the show with ‘Cover Up’, the most electronic track from her second album Work It Out – demonstrating her developing sound from the off. Other new tracks ‘Nebraska’ and ‘She’ll Move’ also highlighted Lucy’s edging towards the darker side, with really bassy notes reverberating around the room and contrasted with moments of quiet piano and delicate vocals. There was a thank you from Lucy after almost every song, reminding the audience why she is so loveable. She told the audience that she was really enjoying this tour and that “it’s good to be playing music again and even better that people came!”

Speaking about the order of songs on the new album Work It Out, Lucy explained that first track ‘For You’ acted as the bridge between her records. The first, she said, had been written in a completely different headspace without the intention of anyone listening and was recorded at her parent’s house – another endearing fact. But the second album was a scarier process she admitted, as she thought “maybe” people might be interested – with that comes the pressure to write “the most honest record I could.” Flyte came back on stage to harmonise during ‘Like An Arrow’, the second single released from Work It Out. The popularity of the song was shown as the audience sang along, almost uncontrollably because of how catchy it is. Fans at the front of the crowd danced along with ‘Staying Alive’ and Lucy was obvious in her appreciation. Throughout the entire show, she was actively moved when the audience sang along, loving every second, which made the show such a pleasure to watch.

Lucy and her band cleverly linked songs from the old and new albums with instrumental sections: going from emotional ballad ‘For You’, where she expertly took on Rae Morris’ high harmonies as well as her own lead vocals, into ‘Middle of the Bed’ which had the audience whooping with happiness. This version was more bass-heavy and had a richer sound from all the band, as opposed to the stripped back album version. Lucy also treated the audience to a rendition of ‘Bikes’ from the first album, full of acoustic guitar and glockenspiel sounds and encouraged the audience to scream out loud as the lyrics demand. This was as well as ‘Our Eyes’, the first and perhaps most popular Work It Out single, again getting the audience involved with hand claps that sped up and had us all laughing.

For her encore, Lucy came back on alone to sing ‘Into The Wild’ with just her guitar for company. Telling us the story behind the song, she said that it was written as she was finishing the first record – indicating why the melancholy song is so poignant. Lucy’s voice and the electric guitar strumming worked together to make the song really emotional. Once again, she expressed her complete gratitude for the audience’s support and “fingers crossed” she gets to make a third album, before finishing with the album’s title track ‘Work It Out’ and crowd favourite ‘Red Face’ from the first record. The band leapt around the stage during the more upbeat version of the track and all the audience sang along, ending the show with a bang. Fans of Lucy Rose will be praying that the third album comes round soon so that we can watch her perform live again. She is undoubtedly one of the most humble people in the business – the audience thrived off her genuine love for performing and those spot on vocals that sound even prettier when she’s a few feet away from you.

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