Archive for the ‘Acoustic’ Category

Terra Naomi lands an acoustic delight with support from Paper Aeroplanes, Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK Friday 10th February 2012


Terra Naomi performs an Acoutic set at Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK, February 10th 2012

The lovely Terra Naomi performs an Acoutic set at Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK, February 10th 2012

It takes a very accomplished artist indeed to hold a crowd for over an hour just doing an acoustic set but that’s exactly what the lovely Terra Naomi did on Friday night at Islington Assembly Hall. This grand 1930’s art deco venue that has been recently opened to the public for concert, complimented the singer’s performance perfectly by, not only providing a great backdrop but also enhancing the sound quality of the singer’s vocal modulations and acoustic guitar.

Terra was one of several artists who found success in 2006 by cleverly using the Internet to broadcast virtual concerts. The UK’ own Sandi Thom was another.  In fact, Terra was one of the first to win a You Tube video award. I came across her in 2007 supporting Martha Wainwright and was impressed by her range of vocal tonality and the strength of her lyrics.  She was a performer, I thought, definitely worth seeing in own right as headliner. Then, she was signed to major record label Island Record and lived in London for a year or so, a fact she referred to in the concert. As she’s no longer signed to this label, it looks like she has raised funds independently to make her second album and this show was part of the European tour to promote it.

So back to the show: Terra ambled on stage rather innocuously and gradually the audience applause levels went up. Taking some moments to install herself properly at the piano, she provoked light ripples of laughter by declaring to the audience “if we’re settled in then we’ll get started”. She started with a classical piano ballad with a real 70’s feel “If I Could Stay” evoking beautifully the feeling of distance and lost time between two people in relationship. A good start to the show, then,  drawing the audience in at emotional level.

After declaring herself delighted to be back in London after a 3 and half year absence, she dedicated “The Vicadin Song” –  to two people named Rebecca in the audience.

“You for Me” was an up-tempo song portraying a fantasy of  idealistic  life  and vocally exuded the optimistic feel of Kate Nash stylistically. At one point Terra voice’s suddenly slid far up the octave scales and down again with such effortless ease, she could have been taken for a world class yodeller.

London, or least the part of it that was there in the hall responded well, even when Terra initiated a guessing game for a song for which she had changed the original arrangement. The song was nonetheless recognisable as “Jenny”. The 2006 You Tube sensation “Say it’s possible” followed afterwards, was sung beautifully and with note perfect precision on the acoustic guitar.

Clearly at ease by now with the audience, Terra relayed some quirky stories: including one about being asked to compose a song to a sex scene for the film Super, mentioning Liv Tyler and Rainn Wilson in the process but I think she meant Ellen Page. I am sure no-one present in the audience will ever think about these actors in the same way again. The song that came out of this process was called “Someday Soon” , a slow acoustic track that showcased Terra’s songbird range.

More references to video followed with Terra, just before playing the song about stealing someone else’s boyfriend –“Not Sorry”, describing how on the video for that song she had to film while walking up the stairs sometimes backwards.

There were a couple of excellent covers including a most original  version of Micheal Jackson’s Billie Jean framed in sombre minor chords on the guitar sung with the passionate folky crescendo of someone like Mary Hopkins (c 1968). (Those who don’t remember that singer – she was a Welsh folk singer signed to the Apple label –same one as the Beatles). This is probably the best non-dance cover of this iconic Jackson record that I’ve ever heard – beautiful in its simplicity.

Terra Naomi at the Piano , Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK , Febraury 10th 2012

For the other cover, which was another classic, Terra moved back to the piano and gave an accomplished rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge over troubled Waters. She was to stay at the piano for her last song pre-encore “I’ll be Waiting”, taken from latest album “To Know I’m OK”.

In the show  there were of comic moments when Terra attempted to move back and forth between acoustic microphone and the piano and kept knocking the guitar stands over. It’s endearing to see that performers are normal human beings.

For the final song of the encore someone in the audience shouted a request  for “Flesh for Bones” and Terra, in a matter of fact way, went “OK”, took the guitar and launched into this beautiful song with its deep and varied acoustic chords. Terra’s voice was at its finest. It was fitting end to a mesmerising acoustic tour de force. After the show Terra Naomi met her fans and was as warm and likable off-stage as she was on it.

Paper Aeroplanes supporting Terra Naomi, Islington Assembly Hall, Friday 10th February 2012

The support band Paper Aeroplanes must also be mentioned as they provided worthy support in a long slot lasting 40 minutes. They combined acoustic with folk elements. The cello added a touch of magic. “Orange Lights” was my personal favourite and definitely had a touch of the atmosphere of “Martha’s Harbour” about it. Sarah Howell’s voice was a delight as was her wry sense of humour especially the reference comparing Terra Naomi’s European odyssey to arriving from Fulham for the gig on the Piccadilly line tube. Hilarious. Their music was relaxed and enjoyable and is worth checking out live. This band certainly have what it takes to succeed and would perfectly compliment artists of the style and stature of Laura Marling.