Live Review: Gianna Lauren, Dirdsbead & Red Trees at The Rude Shipyard – 26/04/14

The Rude ShipyardVenue: The Rude Shipyard, Sheffield
Date: 26/04/14

The Rude Shipyard is neither rude nor a shipyard, it is a friendly, Bohemian bookshop and cafe on Abbeydale Road. This was one of it’s occasional music nights. It is a small space, but it was full for an evening of warm electric guitars and interesting artists.

Locally based duo, Red Trees opened the night with a lovely and delicate set. Lou and Chris harmonise beautifully over their gently arpeggio-picked guitars, creating warm and restrained indie-folk.

Local solo artist, Dirdsbead darkened the tone with an intense set, which perhaps belied and reflected that he was suffering from a-heavy-night-the-night-before. Over heavily reverbed electric guitar, he varies how he sings, from the sonorous to the overwrought. There were occasional touches of Elvis Presley, Nick Cave and Matt Bellamy in his vocals, but he is very definitely himself.

Gianna Lauren from Canada, she humorously took mock umbrage at being introduced as from America, headlined. She has a nice, easy conversational way with the audience; the way she established a dialogue, asking us questions and created a rapport.  Soon she was being asked if she’d ever seen a bear, as we tested her true Canadian-ness.

This was her first visit to Europe and she found it wasn’t scary and that everyone was really nice. Of course, you reap what you sow and she is a very good performer. She worried in case she was too loud. She really wasn’t and yet somehow she blew the PA system. This produced more humour as she mused on her newfound rock credentials. She is charismatic in performance, she has a quirkiness, delicacy and gentleness, but is never fey.

Musically, she is a warm performer too, with clear electric guitar sound. Her songs are not words plus music, they are fully integrated pieces. Lyrically they are thoughtful and poetic, with themes of human behaviour, musically they are understated and dreamy. She plays indie-pop vaguely reminiscent of The Cowboy Junkies, Suzanne Vega and Beth Orton.

This was a great night, warm both musically and atmospherically.

– Simon Benton


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