Angaleena Presley - The Louisiana, Bristol
Angaleena Presley is a curious case. As one third of the platinum selling (in the US) Pistol Annies she’s successful, in her own right she goes somewhat under the radar; as shown by the fact this stop on her UK tour is The Louisiana, a small venue above a pub in Bristol. Another third of the Pistol Annies - Miranda Lambert - is playing arenas in August.
The size of audience and sales is not what makes it curious though, it’s how the absolute quality of her songwriting is noted by critic but seems to totally underwhelm the record buying public. The Bristol crowd though goes someway to disproving that by knowing most of the words and looking on in sheer delight as she leads into ‘Knocked Up’ with the line “This is how I met my first husband” before following the song with “So this is how that story ended” and launching into ‘Drunk’. Split in the middle by the crowd singing an A Capella chorus of the first song. Smart, funny, and soul baring stuff.
Despite her self effacing stage banter (“I’m a shy person”), up under the lights she’s anything but shy, and bares her soul even more in her writing. In fact it’s impossible to remember all the between song chat as there’s so much of it, and it’s all entertaining. Ranging from getting a critique on a new song from an overconfident punter (“We were debating whether it’s any good or not. She likes it, I don’t”), discussing the pains of dropping your phone in the loo, or traffics lights and roadworks outside the venue everything and anything is covered.
The tunes and lyrics are what really shine though, with a run through of many favourites from her debut (2014’s American Middle Class) including ‘Pain Pills’, ‘Ain’t no Man’, and ‘Grocery Store’ (“This song has a whole new meaning to me now, since the election”) but what’s special for this short UK tour is the preview of songs from her upcoming new record. With all filming being banned so as not to leak them there’ll not be any spoilers here but it’s safe to say the appetite it absolutely whetted. Whether it’s clever, clever lyrics (“I’d be like Elvis with lipstick and boobs” raises a laugh), brutal lyrics (“If you bless my heart I'll slap your face”) or her trademark honesty (“I wrote this song feeling sorry for myself one day”) they’re all wrapped up in terrific melodies. It bodes well for more recognition in 2017 for Ms Presley.