St Pancras Old Church – July 28th 2016
Tonight was the result of some ‘yeses.’ I got an email sharing a new track; I get tons of these every day, and I don’t listen to them all. But I said yes to opening this one. I saw that the artist, Lou Rhodes, used to be in Lamb, who I’m not that fussed by to be honest. But I still said yes to listening All The Birds, and loved it. I was sleepy, my mate had bailed, and I wasn’t sure I could be bothered with her gig at St Pancras Old Church. But I said yes, and I went. And fuck me, am I glad I did.
Opening with the first single ‘All The Birds’, taken from her newest album theyesandeye, Lou Rhodes immediately had the small audience at the north London venue entranced. The flickering lights twinkling in the coves of the church echoed that of the instruments as a diaphanous mesh of notes rose up into the eaves. Playing songs from the latest album, as well as few older ones, she was joined on the stage by various musicians, including the exquisite sound of Quinta on the harp.
Theyesandeye was co-produced by Simon Byrt, and his love of all things analogue permeates the album with antique echoes perfectly mirrored by the performance tonight. Soothing and reflective, the nuances of the individual instruments deftly combined in a holistic web of beauty. It felt neatly crafted yet also tactile enough to be authentic. Her bucolic vibe comes from a genuine concern for the environment, as the lyrics to ‘Sea Organ’ clearly convey. Hymnal tones of the new album would surely be approved by the Virgin Mary, statues of which were littered with beer cans, and there certainly was a sense of reverence for life in the performance.
The jaunty tune ‘All I Need’, about “when you fall in love with someone and it makes you fall in love with everything” came to its triumphant end just as the bells struck 10, sending a ripple of smiles around the audience. Random people were grabbing my hand in awe of the performance, and the celebratory tone of the evening came to an end with ‘Magic Ride’, a song introduced as about “the honour of being alive”.
It felt fitting. No glamour, no posing, but a sense of wonder. Yes.