Thea Gilmore (support from Kevin Harper) - Live at the Stirling Tolbooth

Finishing with an a cappella rendition of Parting Glass, Thea Gilmore proves with effortless ease her status as one of the UK's best talents. Despite her young years, the North-Oxfordhire guitarist has already 5 albums under her belt and a pocketload of unrecorded tunes, one of which makes tonight's setlist. For these two dates at the beautiful Stirling Tolbooth (which is rapidly becoming the best Scottish venue for intimate gigs), Thea has coaxed two of her collaborators, Nigel Stonier and Jim Kirkpatrick, to accompany her in an all-acoustic set. Though her newest release (Avalanche) features some rather complex production, beat loops and strings, Thea breathes new life into these songs with some stripped-down arrangements, often surpassing the studio versions. Her voice, a soft but passionate alto, at times resembles a calmer Tori Amos or Annie Lennox but remains quite distinctive, in part thanks to her Home-counties pronunciation. Her propensity to do great covers is once again to the fore tonight with a rendition of Straight Up which leaves the audience horrified at their new-found love for Paula Abdul.

Though the audience is rather quiet at first, Gilmore rapidly manages to make contact thanks to her quirky on stage banter. Halfway through her set, she changes tack, makes the band unplug their instruments and starts playing Mud on My Shoes, unamplified in the midst of the audience. The audience lap it up, joining in on the chorus, amazingly, perfectly in tune. Back on stage, the cleverly crafted songs keep on coming, with some more upbeat numbers (Mainstream,Juliet and Heart String Blues sound perfect despite the absence of any percussion instrument) as well as some of her more contemplative numbers such as the delicate December in New York.

Combining great songs with excellent delivery and a complete lack of pretension, Ms. Gilmore is a must-see live act. Be sure to check her out if she's playing anywhere near you.


Opening for Thea Gilmore, Kevin Harper, lead singer for Vivamelodica, bears more than a fleeting resemblance to Frank Black, be it with his sometime shouty delivery or his rather bizarre lyrical content - an entire song discussing the intricacies of Nouvelle Vague films would fit in nicely with the Pixies' frontman's universe. Harper comes through as vaguely uncomfortable having to play his songs stripped bare but, with the help of a couple of inspired covers of Ryan Adams and Dylan, manages to get over the lack of backing band. His tales of ordinary lives vacillate between being insightful and very ordinary indeed - nevertheless, some good compositions linger in his set so I imagine his talent will mature with the years, meaning we'll be seeing much more of this gentleman in years to come.


For more information on Thea Gilmore, check out her website: TheaGilmore.com
Thea Gilmore kindly took some time to talk to us before the gig. The interview will be made available on the site in the next few days or so.


Thea Gilmore's setlist on the 17th:
You Tell Me
Rags & Bones
Have You Heard
Bad Moon Rising (Creedence cover)
Holding Your Hand
To The Bone
Mud On My Shoes
Razor Valentine
Saviours & All
Straight Up (Paul Abdul cover)
The Cracks
Juliet
Mainstream
December in New York
This Girl

Encore:
Heart String Blues
The Lady Is A Tramp
Inverigo

Setlist for the 18th:
You Tell Me
Rags and Bones
Have You Heard
Crazy Love (Van Morrison cover)
Movie Kisses
Holding Your Hand
Wreck It Down
Mud On My Shoes
Saviours And All
Straight Up (Paula Abdul cover)
Juliet
Tear It All Down
Mainstream
December in New York
This Girl Is Taking Bets

Encore:
Heartstring Blues
Inverigo
Parting Glass (A cappella)

Thanks to Mike Gray and friends for the setlist details

Last updated: 19/04/2018 13:34:07

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