Amy Macdonald / Tiffany Page - Roundhouse, London
It’s just before the end of her set and Amy Macdonald is telling the crowd a story about the writing of her monster hit ‘This Is The Life’. The moral of the story? Binge drinking is good as it gave her the idea behind the track which has hit number one in ten countries. Don’t be fooled by her jaunty melodies, Amy is clearly a rock chick at heart and however different tonight’s acts sound on record to each other, their live sets have more in common than you might expect.
Tiffany Page is first up and while her debut album might have been pushed back to September, don’t take that as a sign of her quality as every track she plays in tonight’s opening set is received like they are already bona fide rock classics: ‘Seven Years Too Late’ has a superb high-low dynamic in the vocals that is irresistible even on first listen and ‘Walk Away Slow’ has a powerhouse of a chorus that is destined to be a live favourite at her own headline shows.
Unfortunately her power ballad ‘I Am The Blaze’ doesn’t get aired but that’s quickly forgotten as she ends the set with her rocked-up cover of Rihanna’s ‘Rude Boy’. It proves to be a highly astute choice as it’s clear that the audience tonight are familiar with the track and it’s a mark of the cover’s brilliance that it’s welcomed with open arms and not with groans. Even after Amy Macdonald pulls out a storming version of The Boss’ ‘Born To Run’ during her encore, it’s ‘Rude Boy’ that gets the cover of the night award for Tiffany’s sheer cohones in covering it and truly making it her own.
It’s impressive to note just how confident Tiffany is on stage after such a relatively short time performing as she isn’t afraid to involve the crowd like she does during the bridge of ‘On Your Head’ and manages to get the whole of the Roundhouse clapping along. While the on-stage banter doesn’t exactly flow like during Amy’s set with anecdotes and the like, Tiffany still manages to brush aside her troubles with the microphone stand during ‘Police’ putting it down to “pre-gig excitement” and showing that nothing really fazes her despite playing to an audience predominantly there for the headliner.
While Amy Macdonald doesn’t quite have the rock tracks in her locker like Tiffany Page does with the likes of ‘Playing With Fire’, when the opening notes of ‘An Ordinary Life’ reverberate around the Roundhouse, one would be forgiven for thinking that Tiffany had come out for an extended encore. Her albums might be full of gentle acoustic sounds but Amy’s tracks are given a much fuller sound live and end up being able to be classified as pop-rock in some cases.
However, it doesn’t necessarily work for all of her tracks as there are some tracks that just don’t need, or even warrant, the stronger electric guitars. It’s a testament to the strength of Amy’s voice that she is never once over-powered by the guitars although it is telling that when the guitars noticeably drop out during ‘This Pretty Face’, the overall feel of the performance is just right. That being said, some tracks are taken to another level with the rockier live sound: the opening of ‘Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over’ smacks you in the face and keeps you in a headlock for the remainder and ‘Run’ ends up sounding like it should be in an stadium.
The brilliantly constructed set, with the focus on the upbeat numbers of her two albums, gave the gig a party atmosphere from start to finish and it meant that, even with its slight running time of just over an hour with encore, no one went away feeling short-changed. ‘Mr Rock & Roll’ and ‘This Is The Life’ are greeted like long-lost friends and garner the biggest reactions of the night, although recent single ‘Spark’ comes close, but despite being fully appreciative of the performance, the majority of the crowd rarely got fully involved…perhaps a side-effect of giving tickets away for free as there were a few within the crowd who had only come “because it was free”.
Regardless of whether people in the crowd had heard of Amy Macdonald beforehand though, it would be impossible not to warm to her jovial personality on stage. Whether she’s telling anecdotes, such as the aforementioned bonuses of binge drinking, or just thanking the crowd even before their applause had stopped, she comes across as a completely down-to-earth performer and one that you could imagine just having a drink with.
In keeping with the common themes of the evening, the same affable trait could be as easily associated with Tiffany Page as well and there would be many people after tonight’s gig who would want to be in that pub when they came round for a drink. Who knows, you might even end up writing a worldwide mega-hit like Amy Macdonald did.
Tiffany Page Set List
WALK AWAY SLOW
HOPE HE DOESN'T KNOW ABOUT YOU
SEVEN YEARS TOO LATE
ON YOUR HEAD
HEAVEN AIN'T EASY
PLAYING WITH FIRE
RUDE BOY (Rihanna cover)
Amy Macdonald Set List
AN ORDINARY LIFE
MR ROCK & ROLL
NEXT BIG THING
THIS PRETTY FACE
DON'T TELL ME THAT IT'S OVER
THIS IS THE LIFE
BORN TO RUN (Bruce Springsteen cover)
LET'S START A BAND