Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Gabrielle Aplin + Jack Savoretti + Emma Crowder, The Institute, Birmingham 05/11/13

Gabrielle Aplin
Up first is Birmingham’s own Emma Crowder who won the opportunity to open tonight via a competition ran by Gabrielle Aplin’s team. Emma’s armed with just an acoustic guitar, haunting vocal melodies, and is on what I’d imagine is the biggest stage she’s played to date as a result of the competition.

Emma Crowder
She’s very apt and a worthy opener tonight as she displays all the qualities that must have forged Gabrielle Aplin’s early years, and she isn’t too phased by the situation, so much as thankful and willing to embraces it.
Jack Savoretti too is only armed with an acoustic but has a set full of dynamics on display, which I gather is unusual as he often does have a full band behind him. His bluesy soulful and gritty tones are instantly pleasing and married to some folky/country twangs that seep through in places. His song writing experience shines as he takes you on a journey, bringing you up and down, with groove and meaning, plus the emotion present in Emma’s set.

Jack Savoretti
You could picture his body of work accompanying many a movie sound track, and it’s hard not to drift romantically in to imagining being in some quaint coffee shop only too happy with your sound track as the world passes you by. By the end of the set we’re treated to some audience participation in ‘Come Shine a Light’ where Jack manages to pull tonight’s some what shy crowd out of their shell a little. Soon after, his superb set draws to a close and you feel he’s set a high standard for Gabrielle Aplin to follow.
It is however of course all about tonight’s headliner, and she sits somewhere between Emma and Jack in her singer songwriter stylings. The more haunting atmospheric vocals and melodies return and I also pick up hints of Ellie Goulding, Vibes of Christina Perri and a bit of Amy Macdonald thrown in too. Early on in her set we hear her version of ‘Power of Love’ which sets the feel for the majority of Gabby’s performance. I can’t help but feel it needs to be punctuated with some more upbeat numbers from time to time, but then this is what the vast majority in here tonight are most likely looking for. Don’t get me wrong, this is splitting hairs in musical preferences – Gabrielle Aplin has worked hard to be on tonight’s stage having played both the smaller rooms at the institute. She embraces the moment and takes it in her stride, despite a few small faux-pas like forgetting to plug in her guitar on one track or dropping the lead in her tea on another… but she’s laughs it off with the rest of us and delivers on her abilities which only endears us more so.

Gabrielle Aplin
Much like Jack you feel there’s that sound track quality to her music too, and sure enough she announces she’s going to play a track only played once before that was written for the TV show Skins, before false starting it and telling us she can’t remember the words; it then makes way for ‘Take Me Away’ instead. A second attempt at the ironically titled ‘Start Again’ from Skins sees an audience member pipe up after she exclaims she only needs the first line to remember, and then when reminded exclaims again “oh I know it!“. It’s a track that should see the light of day more often, another standout moment for me.
Further highlights come when she welcomes Tom and Hannah on to the stage, her higher vocal register and power really shone during this track and were perfectly complimented with some precision harmonies. Finally we get our step up in tempo also when we’re asked if we’d like to bop; the cheers that go up after that number echo’s my sentiment a touch – for me it was a much needed injection. Soon after we also have the pleasure of the perfectly penned ‘Please Don’t Say You Love Me’, followed by her next single ‘Salvation’ before a cover of Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’. All in all it’s a solid performance of atmospheric numbers full of emotion on a Tuesday night out in Birmingham.