I did a gig and run! The atmosphere at Oporto in Leeds was so great I ended playing a lot longer than I was supposed to and had to roll off stage, onto the streets and onto the national express bus that took me back to Liverpool. So sorry I couldn’t say goodbye properly to everybody! I had travelled up from London that day, so a total of 9 hours on the road… but totally worth it. Last night was the third show of my September tour with four more to go.
I lost my voice in a field!
The tour kicked off with an afternoon set on the Laura Jane stage at Lodestar Festival by Cambridge, one of my favourite festivals in the UK. I think my favourite thing about Lodestar is seeing all the children experiencing a music festival for the first time. After the show I had a little group of girls come up to me with their cuddly toys and smart phones, taking super professional selfies with me (we all know I’m not very good at selfies!).
I think this was my first proper successful banter with small people, talking a full 10 minutes about Taylor Swift, cuddly toys, making records and the joys of live music.. I was quite proud of myself. Thanks to festival organiser Doug Durrant for having me.
You know those first signs of catching a cold when you just feel you’re about to fall ill? Yeah, well, I’m terrible at reading them. I refuse to believe anything’s wrong until I’m fully knocked out. So, after a day spent in a sunny, but rather cold and blustery field my voice decided to leave me. I should have taking this as a not so subtle hint… The next day I had to face the reality of playing a show without a voice. The second show of the tour was a to be a double headline show with my friend Jez Wing (Cousin Jac / Echo and the Bunnymen) at the Servant Jazz Quarters in London, hosted by singer songwriter Gitta De Ridda.
After a panic voice rest during the day and buckets of ginger tea, I took to the stage (joined by Stuart Irwin on bass). It was surprisingly fun, not least down to the fact that the audience was made up of very friendly, familiar faces. I quite enjoyed having to change the melodies to my songs as we played them, so as to avoid the high notes I had no chance of reaching that night. A bit of Whiskey, a bit of ukulele and with a little help from my friends (thank you for singing along so well!), we made it through the set. I really hope you all had a good time.
After a day of rest after the show, the voice returned, but bought a full blown cold and chest thing (technical term, that) along with it. It’s always such a drag when you’ve spent your time organising a tour only to have to struggle through it. I really didn’t want to let anybody down. So, I boarded the trusted Megabus and made my way up North. I just love Oporto – it’s one of my favourite small music venues to play at in the UK and the music nights are run by a really lovely bunch of people. This was the second show together with Jez Wing (one more to go in Liverpool on October 1st!). Here’s me photobombing his sound check:
Opening the show was local singer songwriter Lisa Marie Glover – we’d shared the bill before at Jumbo Records earlier this year, so it was great to see her again. Both Lisa’s and Jez’s sets were so good that at one point I actually forgot that I still had to go up there myself.. I was quite happy in my little hazy bubble, listening to Jez’s beautifully crafted piano compositions. Alas, my turn came… When I start to sing my world makes sense and everything falls into place. It’s so easy to loose sight of why we do what we do in the daily struggles, the catching of trains, the deadlines and coffee cups. I feel really lucky to have something so reliable that works every time. That evening at Oporto felt really special and I can’t really pin point what it was. A large part of it is that every time I’m back at that venue, it feels like visiting friends and family. The room, albeit small, was full of smiles and good vibes. Special thank you goes out to the front row, who came down from Hull especially – it was great to see you! Thanks also to Barry Knight for being so supportive and always coming along to the Leeds shows! All worries blown away, I ended playing for about 20 minutes longer than scheduled, which brings us back to the beginning of this little blog post.