Caitlin Rose - Manchester Night & Day
Caitlin Rose is headlining shows in the UK for the first time following the release of her debut album, Own Side Now ("Who bought my record? Hands up... I love you!") and the big question was how well her Nashville country sound would translate to a full-to-capacity sweatbox in Manchester's northern quarter.
As she takes the stage, she announces that she hasn't slept much recently, and jokingly threatens that her set is going to ruin the evening. When she breaks into opener 'Learning To Ride', accompanied by her bass player and guitarist, it's immediately obvious that this isn't going to be the case.
Two things strike you when you see her perform. The first is just how young she is. It's easy to forget when listening to the record, filled with longing and heartbreak, that she's only in her early twenties, and professes her fondness for cigarettes, drinking - oh, and computers ("I was going to sleep on the ferry, but they had free internet..."). The second is just how easy she makes it all look. When her voice soars with perfect clarity on tracks like 'Own Side Now', or when she performs a capella for tonight's encore, the silly 'Gorilla Man' from her debut EP, it's as if she's unaware of what a striking vocal performance she's putting in.
Her stage banter adds to her charm, by turns cheeky, self-effacing and self-promoting (If you'd taken a drink each time she plugged her upcoming show with Deertick you'd have been on the floor by the end of the show) with between song banter with the audience ranging from Weird Al Yankovic to a tale of an escaped piranha at Opry Mills Mall.
But it was the music that was the real star, and highlights of her 45 minute set included a rousing singalong version of ''Answer In One Of These Bottles', a solo rendition of 'Docket' and a soaring 'For The Rabbits'. It's hard to imagine that she'll remain an undiscovered gem playing to 200 people for much longer. Catch her in a small venue while you can.