With a hiatus from releasing her own songs, the last couple of years has seen Thea take on a rerecording of Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding, and the release of Don’t Stop Singing; songs written by Sandy Denny which were never previously set to music. It would be easy then to assume that Thea has had little time to focus on her own work, but tonight sets the record straight with new songs from her EP Beginners showcased in the set.
She explains that often several songs never make the final track listing, and so the EP is an aptly titled precursor to the album which is due for release early next year. The a cappella The Amazing Floating Man takes a look at banking and highlights Thea’s vocal capacity to tell a story with the tone of her voice. Me By Numbers on the other hand does what Thea does best, accurately depicting the paradoxes which come with being female. As she sings “I can be a good girl, I can be a heart attack, I can be a highway, or an old straight track. I can be a hopeful, or a glorious fail, shall I be an outlaw or a good, good, good girl?” it’s clear the questions and thoughts which have lined her previous works have not vanished.
Elsewhere the night meanders through her back catalogue and whilst the audience seem to react most for her recent radio hit London, for me it’s opener Contessa and the likes of Inverigo which reconfirm why Thea is one of the greatest lyricists around. This poetical nature, coupled with a faultless band means the night ranges from the haunting Old Soul, to angrier God’s Got Nothing On You and the more pop You’re The Radio with ease.
Though the crowd are a little reserved and slightly unwilling to join in with Are You Ready? Thea still manages to work her usual charm, interspersing humours tales with some serious messages. As she ends simply saying “support live music” tonight confirms how on the mark that statement is. Excluding the feedback which nearly bursts ear drums as they depart for the encore, the evening is faultless, Thea and band weaving their usual does of magic throughout the night. Which in turn acts as an indicator that the forthcoming album and subsequent tours are likely to be nothing short of sublime.
Photos © Jo Cox and must not be reproduced without prior consent