Having never been to/on/aboard Thekla, I was pretty excited. As The Half Earth put it, this is probably everybody’s first gig where their head is below the water level. It certainly added a certain ambience to The Half Earth’s supporting set. We were forewarned by Lucy herself during our interview that they were going to be worth packing in early for, and she wasn’t wrong. The belly of the boat was filled with the singer’s angelic voice, that was set off by by some intense waves of bass coming from Ben, the enigmatic man with the synth. The pair was a surprisingly heavy and moody precursor to the evening’s main event.
Lucy Rose and her band’s arrival on stage was as comfortable and unassuming as I expected it would be. Having cut her teeth on open mic nights all over London before her big break, Lucy has gotten the art of feeling totally at ease on stage down pat. You know you’re watching a special kind of performer when they can build up an amazing rapport in the short space of one performance. By the end of her set, Lucy Rose was calling on a running joke about Bristol’s odd knack for clapping in double time. Pretty miraculous.
Stage presence aside, Lucy Rose’s performance was technically brilliant. She’s spiced up how she plays old songs from the debut, and all the new material is played incredibly tightly. That’s all well countered with the fact that the band are so relaxed and engaging on stage. Having seen Lucy last year on her original tour for the debut album, I’m fairly familiar with the band’s rhythms and set list keepers. There’s a song that I presume is going to be on the new album, which I still don’t know the name for because I haven’t heard it outside of live performances. The point is that I’m dying to hear stuff that’s been in Lucy’s live set for a while now on the record.
Part way through the show, Lucy told an anecdote about how she’d perfected the perfect set list for the tour, to be practiced to perfection. Then, in an interview at the first show on the tour, she was asked if they were one of those “terrible plastic bands who play the same set list every night”. The story perfectly sums up Rose’s easy self-deprecating and humble stage presence, but it also catalysed the decision for the band to mix up their set list every night, and the difference is concrete. Songs felt fresh when they were performed, even in the case of oldies like Bikes and Red Face. Despite the fact that, by her own admission, all that Lucy Rose does is tour, she’s far from all used up.
Catch our interview with Lucy Rose here.