Many things have changed for Lucy Rose this year, and on Saturday she returned to the city where the startling and beautiful Something’s Changing was recorded to the delight of an adoring crowd at a sold out Old Market. Almost without her realising it, she is fast becoming one of the brightest lights on the current music scene and this current UK headline tour follows a massively successful support slot with Paul Weller in the US. Along with her four-piece band, Rose gave a sumptuous and often emotional performance that gave a real warmth to a chilly autumn evening.
As with the whole tour, support came from Charlie Cunningham, whose Spanish style of guitar-playing (learned while living in Seville for a few years) adds a real depth and individuality to an already promising set of songs following this year’s debut Lines. That album’s title track had a rhythm that ebbed and flowed like the tide, while ‘Lessleg’ showed off his unique style to maximum effect. Meanwhile, ‘Minimum’ and ‘Lights Off’ generated the biggest reaction from a crowd which were fully participative in what he described as “The best show of the tour by far”. Closing with the beautiful ‘You Sigh’, this felt like a marker on the way to becoming a big name.
As Lucy Rose and her band arrived on stage, it took less than a minute of ‘Intro’ to produce a few tears amongst her audience as the first high note was delivered exquisitely, receiving a huge roar in response. The song’s lyrics describe Rose’s approach to songwriting and to life too, as “Feeling it all, feeling it all/All the good, the bad, the happy, the sad” sums up much of the inspiration and emotional truth behind Something’s Changing. Despite her slight frame, Rose’s voice alone could stop anyone in their tracks and, as the band joined in on ‘Is This Called Home’, there was a real richness and warmth emanating from the stage. Speaking after the show, Rose said that she “Has never felt happier on the road than right now”, and it showed tonight throughout as she laughed between songs with both the band and the crowd. That served to perfectly balance out the air of melancholia that much of her work sits in.
With the critical and commercial success that Rose is currently enjoying, she understandably concentrated on newer material but successfully merged in some older favourites such as ‘Middle of the Bed’ and ‘Our Eyes’. These took on new life with the bigger band, and sounded stronger than ever. Meanwhile, her new new song ‘End Up Here’, which just missed the cut from the album, felt closer in tone and style to country music than she ever has before. It was in these bluer moments that she is at her best, particularly tonight with ‘Moirai’. Named after the Goddess of Fate, the singer became visibly emotional when speaking about the hand that fate deals at times, and the song itself felt both raw and tender, leaving her seeming to wipe away a tear at its end.
Moments like that sum up the powerful connection that she has with her fans, who are very much treated as friends both on stage and off. As idolised as she is by a large portion of the crowd, it was also apparent that it was fully reciprocated. As described in ‘Intro’, her rare ability to empathise with all of the emotions, heartbreaks and joy of her fans has now forged something truly powerful and unbreakable. Her stroke of genius has been to convert that into richly textured, beautiful anthems that give a voice to the unheard. Lucy Rose may not realise or believe it yet, but this is only going to get bigger and better for us and for her.