By Kat Collison
The O2, Oxford – 8/11/15
It’s easy to be beguiled by Lucy Rose. With her ethereal vocals, homemade tea and extensive gratitude to her fans, she is altogether delightful. Whilst critics have occasionally branded her therefore as “unassertive”, it is her gentle subtlety that is refreshing. She is not showy or melodramatic. In fact, she takes such simple pleasure in playing music for us that you cannot help losing yourself in it.
Such loss occurs from the moment Lucy Rose walks onto the stage and performs “Cover Up”. With its rhythmic, cyclical drumbeats mingled with a tautly strung guitar refrain, her opening is inexorable. As Lucy moves into “Nebraska” we witness her diversity as she changes to playing staggered minor chords on piano and leaves the guitar aside. The contrast between this moment and “Cover Up” is recognized by the audience who immediately fall silent, allowing themselves to be permeated by Rose’s lilting fragility.
The addition of support band “Flyte” for “Like an Arrow” is, too, absorbed by the audience with pleasure, indulging in their choral harmonies and Lucy’s slick guitar reels. However, a personal highlight comes with the musical interludes between “Shelter” and “Shiver” (as well as between “My Life” and “Middle of The Bed”) where Lucy swings from gritty, intense, and mesmerizing guitar into the poignant, subtle and beautiful opening chords to “Shiver”. The rise and fall through such a climatic transition is welcomed, a musical catharsis.
Once again we witness Lucy Rose’s kind, authenticity as she goes on to play “My Life” for the first time live, for her mother watching in the audience. In fact, it seems Lucy is unaware quite how much her fans adore her, since she beams with surprise as the audience knowingly sung along with every word to “Bikes”. Such admiration indeed, allows us to overlook the perhaps vaguely excessive ‘overhead handclaps’ encouraged during “Middle of the Bed”, “Bikes”, “Köln” and “Our Eyes”. Rose left us with a trio of songs for her encore and yet again we saw her on the keyboard with a sorrowful cycle of chords in the hip-hop/rock/ballad fused “Work it Out.”
Lucy Rose’s true talent however, lies within the bridges of her songs. As she leaves us (still hungry) with the bridge of “Red Face”, Lucy effortlessly switches into an entirely contrasting, rockier melody and the audience are exultant, as along with her we sing: “take what you want to/leave what you didn’t need.” Whilst Lucy’s kind demeanor may be “unassertive”, her lyrics clearly are not. Indeed, we are left unanimously chanting such a statement, in solidarity, with Lucy all the way.
Lucy Rose’s 2015 album “Work it Out” is available on iTunes and Spotify.