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… but however, anyway:

Caitlin Rose
Academy 3, Manchester
12.3.2011

So, someone didn’t get the memo. Or rather, too many people get the goddamned memo. My private viewing of ‘Live! Tonight! Caitlin Rose!’ was gate-crashed by approximately 332 other people. Not one to be a party pooper, they were allowed to stay. A couple of them insisted on thoroughly ruining Caitlin’s rendition of ‘Own Side’ by singing each line about half a beat ahead, half an octave out and RIGHT IN MY EAR HOLE. But you know. They’d made the trip. I’m not here to judge.

Dubious backing singers aside, the gig was a wondrous one. Onstage, Caitlin is equal parts cocky and vulnerable. A smooth introduction was hampered by the loss of a plectrum. The contents of her leather jacket were scattered across the stage floor. Old hotel room keys, a bunch of shells. Some Fisherman’s Friends. No plectrum. She handled the embarrassment like a pro. With humour and just the right amount of dignity, or a lack thereof.

Seeking to regain confidence from a can of Stella Artois, she transformed when singing. Utterly confident. Thousand yard stare. On record, the songs from her Own Side album are comforting, endearing and cute. Live, she shrouds them in menace; her voice is a missile, whooping and howling. Words take on new meaning whilst cruising to their target. It’s the sound of a young woman getting her own back on a cruel world. Pretty soon, those backing singers learnt their place in the pecking order as she switched the crowd to silent mode.

Laying aside her own guitar, with band-mates Spencer on pedal steel and Jeremy on lead, she crackled and sparked in an intense performance of ‘Coming Up’ and ‘For The Rabbits’. Not wanting to disregard the budding performers in the audience, the congregation was invited to join in the good old knees-up that was ‘Bottles’: a debauched bar room floor sing-a-long; a wry dissection of the art of drunkenness. Finishing off with a cover of J.D. Souther’s ‘Faithless Love’, she regained control of the rowdy pack, before gathering up the contents of her pockets from the stage and slinking, sweetly off.

I didn’t film this, by the way, I like to watch gigs through my eyes. But well done to whoever did.

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