Last here with This Is The Kit, Rozi Plain is clearly delighted to be back in The Crescent. The beatific smile etched right across her face says it all. By way of further endorsement, she dedicates ‘Best Team’ – given Plain’s love of fractions, seven elevenths of the way thorough her enchanting set – to Joe (he of local promoter Please Please You fame) and everyone here at the venue responsible for putting on this show and making her feel most welcome.
Last time round Rozi Plain was honouring her long-standing commitment to playing bass guitar in Kate Stables’ supreme alternative-folk outfit This Is The Kit. This time she has her electric guitar (complete with an Extinction Rebellion sticker proudly emblazoned on the instrument’s headstock), her own band – Dan Truen (drums), Rachel Horwood (banjo), Leon Boydon (bass) and Gerard Black (keys) – and her own songs.
And Rozi Plain has plenty of songs to choose from. In a solo recording career that now stretches back for more than a decade, she has recorded four studio albums. And it is to the last of these records – What A Boost, released back in April – she goes for the first two thirds of her performance.
The innate charm of these songs and their more diaphanous studio qualities gather a more textured grit and determination when taken out onto the road. They still remain beautiful, mildly hallucinogenic pieces of music, yet in concert they somehow become more alive, more real. ‘Trouble’, ‘Dark Park’ and ‘Conditions’ reverse the order in which they appear on What A Boost, slowly building into a cosmic affirmation of love.
As well as honouring those behind this show, ‘Best Team’ marks a departure from the new record and a journey into Rozi Plain’s songwriting past. ‘Jogalong’ and ‘Actually’, just like ‘Best Team’ before them, are drawn from What A Boost’s predecessor, Friend, and seamlessly continue this celestial trip into our subconsciousness. Plain ends with her mystical interpretation of the late, lamented jazz pioneer Sun Ra’s ‘When There Is No Sun’. “There’s only darkness” she suggests on the song’s refrain. But for those of us here tonight, there is nothing but clear, transparent light.
Adding to the evening’s magic is an excellent support slot from local musician Joey Donnelly. Here in the form of his musical creation Elk, Donnelly’s artistic vision and confidence have clearly developed since he was last seen supporting The LOVE Band featuring Johnny Echols in Leeds back in July. Apart from anything else he has a fistful of new songs that he showcases here tonight of which ‘I Don’t Know The Way From Here’ and ‘Everything Looks Darker Now’ are something a bit special and point even more firmly towards a bright creative future.
Photos: Simon Godley
More photos of Rozi Plain can be found HERE