Friday, 9 August 2013

Lulu James / Lionhall - Live at The O2 Academy, Newcastle [9th August 2013]

[2013.08.09] Tom Hollingworth, for NARC Magazine.

It feels an eternity since I saw Lulu James open for Ghostpoet at the Cluny, singing along to backing-tracks with carefully organised swaying. Tonight, our Queen of South Shields headlines an anticipated show and we are all keen to see how her ship is fairing these days.

Support is well-chosen in the compliment of Lionhall, a duo mixing synth and guitar loops to articulate songs of youthful melancholia. Such well-crafted songs deserved a larger turn-out.

Show time! A pre-recorded monologue of James speaking presents an alternative persona before she arises out of the fog to join her band, hidden in a mask of gold chains. This choice of anonymity complimented the opening dark march, removing individualism and focussing all of the faith in the room. It was then a peculiar juxtaposition to hear her typically sassy remarks in between such weighty tracks with the mask remaining.

Ultimately it was this blend of the intimate mixed with the universal riding tightly throughout the set that created such amazing moments of hope; from the crowd singing back the lyrics for the tender Be Safe, to uniting everyones dance moves for Step By Step.

Towards the close, James conducts an allegiance pledge to which the attendees promise,'to love / and support / Lulu James (bitches!)'

It turns out James' ship is actually a spaceship, to which we are all welcomed on board. Based on tonight's performance, our Captain's possibilities are truly endless.  

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