August 2, 2018
The Troubadour, London
“This is the best show in town, right?”
The question mark was important there. Despite her impressive talent and having curated a night packed with similarly talented musician friends, Laura Evans’ style was delightfully modest and endearing. She even made her story about cruising down Laurel Canyon in L.A. seem perfectly relatable. The red Volvo part helped, admittedly!
Mixing it up a bit from the proliferation of writers’ rounds on the scene in recent times, this was about standalone sets punctuated by performances by Laura Evans and her band. She expressed gratitude for what we have: “I’m so glad country music finally made it back across the pond.”
Evans sheepishly acknowledged that she hadn’t released new music for four years, but promised to make up for it as she showcased a new song, Heartstrings.
She took the opportunity to duet with friend and co-writer Twinnie for their break-up song, Going Out Tonight. The intro turned into mutual admiration, and rightly so.
“I’m gonna stop talking now because I have verbal diarrhoea!”
Before Twinnie let the music do the talking, she covered pretty much everything else:
- why she was sitting down: “It’s not cos I’m lazy!” (she’d forgotten her guitar strap)
- her specialist subject: “I’m the queen of bad relationships”
- her bespoke pub quiz knowledge: Bob Dylan’s first UK show was in this venue, apparently!
- her parting gift for the next act: “a microphone drenched in lipstick”
That mic would later get its revenge when she banged her teeth on it!
As for the music, it was contemporary with a pointed pop sensibility, set off with a hella head voice, held notes and a fierce growl. Highlights included Daddy Issues and Crazy.
“We brought a few Two Ways Homies”
One of the songs that Evans played, Photograph, was memorable from her appearance with co-writer Alex Maile at Two Ways Home’s songwriters’ round, The Round Up. Returning the favour, she hosted Two Ways Home this time around.
After an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday for a friend, they delivered a strong greatest hits set. Just For Now, Take My Hand, Better Days and Closest Stranger each made an appearance.
This duo seems to get better each performance. Between that, their support for the local live music scene and their friendly personalities, they’ve won over their contemporaries.
Twinnie, who had settled in close to the stage, lost it as soon as they announced they were about to play Push and Pull. Understandably; neither she nor anyone else that had been present at their Round Up had forgotten the pure entertainment of Kenny Foster’s German techno ‘Push and Push’ interlude!
Laura Oakes was the last of the special guests and special was an understatement. She rocked a serene Jessica Rabbit vibe with captivating music to match.
She had the uninitiated laughing with her deft turn of phrase (“you cannot polish a t-errible”) – then weaved a Beatles-esque tone into Nashville Stole My Girl. Newer songs Old Ghosts and Learn To Be Lonely Again show promise with gorgeous notes.
Finally, all the performers got together for a cover. Laura Evans summed the event up best: “I’m a bit overwhelmed with how wonderful this night has been.”
Thankfully, it’s not a one-off. Evans will be performing with Shelly Fairchild and Gasoline and Matches (plus an exciting cameo rumoured!) at The Troubadour on September 15, with more nights planned for the winter months.
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