It’s been a long wait for Madison Violet to return to London, their last date postponed after Brenley’s mother fell ill. Though we’re informed she’s now fit and well that’s not the only tragedy to strike the duo, Lisa’s brother being killed in a car crash only recently. It’s an echo back to Brenley’s experience and as they dedicate No Fool For Trying to him, the emotion is apparent in both their eyes.
It’s this ability to connect emotions with music which powers their set, and though there are moments of bluegrass built for nothing less than a hoedown, it’s the depth of feeling in their lyrics which acts as the primary selling point. Whilst fans are treated to some requests (The Ransom and Sore Heart both being thrown into the end of the set), for me it’s the newer songs which mark the night. Checkpoint Charlie in particular stands out and confirms with little doubt that the next album is likely to be another winning offer.
Despite the somber nature of the songs, their set is littered with humour and at one point we’re asked if we’ve “ever heard of Canada” and informed that Lisa “would date Kate”. Though lusting after the future queen is perhaps less risky that the Dixie Chicks attack on Bush, it conveys a similar rebellious streak. In that vain, they throw Paul Simon’s 50 Ways To leave Your Lover in to the middle of The Good In Goodbye and then round off the night with their version of Nirvana’s No Apologies, showing they’re not willing to be pigeonholed into a genre.
With a set spanning several hours, favourites such as Cindy Cindy and Come As You Are nestle up against Lauralee and Crying to showcase the best songs from their last two albums. Though for me it’s the lyrical content which carries the night, this is only because their musicianship is so effortless and flawless that it gracefully adds to the message and creates a sense of harmony with their prosaic lyrics.