Tonight’s warm up act for Laura Veirs is fronted by Jay Brown, a female London based singer songwriter sharing her turbulent past with tonight’s growing Brudenell crowd, rapidly warming to her delicate self-penned tunes. Since coming out, an act seemingly at odds with her devoutly Christian family's values, Jay has focussed her attention to her music, the subsequent material collectively attributed the Amaroun moniker.
Backed by Suzy on keys and backing vocals, tonight’s half a dozen Amaroun numbers share aspects of her journey; estrangement, inner strength, long distance relationships, the driving pure pop of ‘Made of Fire’ arguably the pick of the bunch from someone on an upward curve, already on the radar of Radio 1 and 6 Music.
Following the distinguished Laura Veirs release ‘The Lookout’, earlier this year, both welcoming and prophetic in equal measure, a velvet glove of comforting sound concealing an iron fist of foreboding at the direction of travel her homeland seems to be taking, tonight’s Brudenell show has been sold out for weeks.
Flanked by Max Berger, Alex Guy and Ely Moore, each combine to bring Veirs’ rich mellifluous textures to life, the opening brace from her new record soon filling the air, with Veirs’ acclaimed 2014 collaboration with KD Lang and Neko Case on the Case/Lang/Veirs long player ‘Atomic Number’ providing the next number. ‘Song for Judee’, the tender Veirs penned ode to the late Judee Sill, another revered West Coast musician from a previous generation for whom things never quite worked out, Veirs confessing to the already enraptured audience that this collaboration came perilously close to being called The Cameltoes.
Switching to keys for ‘The Meadow’ and then inviting Jay and Suzy to return to the stage to assist with vocals on ‘July Flame’ there’s clearly mutual respect between two artists at differing stages of their careers, further adding to the warm conviviality generated by the Oregon based singer.
Wrapping up the main set with ‘Pink Light’, the first and only time Veirs truly rocks out, she returns with a couple of covers, continuing her act of solidarity for her West Coast peers, firstly sharing her uplifting take on the Grateful Dead’s ‘Mountains of the Moon’ before closing with the Daniel Johnson penned ‘True Love Will Find You in the End’.
Words - Mike Price