Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 27/10/2011 | Brandi Carlile – Bush Hall, London

27/10/2011 | Brandi Carlile – Bush Hall, London

Lisa Ward


Attempt number 1, thwarted by a power cut and an inability to make the rearranged date, attempt 2 and 3, laid to rest due to ash clouds and the cost of touring. Making tonight number attempt number 4 and judging by the marathon queue a good hour before doors, it seems no one is leaving anything to chance. The first night of a set of solo shows, Brandi Carlile informs a delighted crowd that her usual back up (the Hanseroth brothers Tim and Phil) told her London was the place to start and judging by the continued singing, lively heckling and continued applause, they may well have been right.

What aren’t in questions are Brandi’s talent, power and obvious emotion on stage. She cruises through the set and though claims she needs whiskey to calm her nerves, there’s never a suggestion of anxiety in her performance. Whether it’s the heartfelt opener Follow or the rousing rendition of Dreams, complete with full throttle vocals and an energetic foot stomp, she captivates the crowd and evidently appears to be having the time of her life.

Showcasing songs from all 3 albums and airing new ones from the up and coming 4th, the set is varied and alive, the only complaint from her crowd and Brandi alike; that there isn’t time to play them all. From the unplugged What Can I Say to the piano led Bend Before It Breaks to Turpentine and the 3 part audience harmonies, every song brings something new, yet never falters from the raw emotion that Brandi has led us to expect. As the guy in front of me seems to exclaim after every song it’s ‘simply beautiful’.

This is not some attempt to be sycophantic, from either him or me, it instead seems the wait and her continued expression of disappointment at the ash cloud disaster has brought Brandi back to the UK with a desire to make it worthwhile. With a 5 song encore showcasing Pride & Joy and That Year, and the continued switching of guitars as she buckles to nearly every audience request (all  bar one) she delivers this promise and more. The shout of Josephine is met by a downing of her guitar, moving to the piano to perform a new song about forgiveness which boasts the line ‘to be loved like a song, even when you’ve changed’, a subtle explanation for her unwillingness to air Josephine if ever I heard one.

With the new songs Raise Hell and Keep Your Heart Young suggesting that Brandi has spent her time away testing out new sounds, whilst also complying to tried and tested methods, the new album promises to delight on its release. In the meantime her heartfelt cover of Alphaville’s Forever Young and a spine chilling rendition of Damien Rice’s Cannonball combine with her own work to make her a contender for the Indigo Girl’s folk/country crown, if they ever opt to end their career. In the meantime The Story, Looking Out and Downpour make the set complete, each bringing their own piece of verve to the show.

Whilst Brandi spends the night making comments like ‘you already know my songs? That is so cool’, the audience who fill the venue are stood only wondering why more people don’t. Suffice to say, there will be many overjoyed comments coming from the lips of those who attended for weeks to come, and a hope that next time Brandi doesn’t leave it quite so long.


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