Lisa Wright Band / O&O - The Green Note Camden
How refreshing to see a "Sold Out" sign and a long queue snaking down Parkway prior to doors even opening for a UK Country artist, especially when there were at least two other shows vying for the same audience that night. This was the first 2019 outing for Lisa Wright and her band and in a well curated line up, with O&O for support.
There are times when artists absolutely fit a venue perfectly and O&O and the Green Note were to prove a perfect pairing, the matching of great sound and a hot full club really seemed to bring out the best in the duo. The Green Note Sound Engineer played an absolute blinder tonight and so with the beautiful harmonies high in the mix, things commenced with "Travellin'" with the vocals entwining on the ever seductive chorus. The next song "Coming Over" which saw Orian Peled. at her most expressive with plenty of hand gestures and a little dance, even wandering off stage at one point to get a finger clicking vibe going on among the audience. Their latest EP the "Truth Comes Out" provided many highlights of the evening, "Rolling On" again showcased the bands harmonies in a song with a chorus that demands your attention. In a nicely paced set, their upbeat 60's tribute "Born In The 60's" packed full of references for any audience to impress themselves on recognizing was followed by the more sombre song about being dumped "Tears in The Rain".. The set closed with "Some Days", a song for when they have a disagreement and the title track of "Truth Comes Out" showing a slightly darker sound to the O&O sound.
Lisa Wright took to the stage with a three piece band, Joe Dolan on acoustic guitar/vocals, Matt Issac on a variety of guitars and mandolin and a certain Kaity Rae mainly on keyboards and backing vocals but not averse to chipping in on guitar and songwriting duties - is there nothing this woman does not do? With the aid of sterling work once again by the sound engineer the band were given the room to express themselves without ever threatening to overshadow Lisa's excellent vocals.
There was to be no hanging around immediately starting with two songs from undoubtedly 2018.s Best EP "Mind Of Mine", namely "Tennessee" and the title track. both given a huge reception. It was a night of great humour, "I'm not bitter" being Lisa's comment on O&O's seven year relationship before launching into the high tempo "Why Would I Wanna?" followed by "Waiting For Rain" exquisitely delivered while making great harmonies with Kaity.
The small Green Note stage did present the odd problem, when Lisa started what would become "Back To You" from the front of the stage it meant a slightly awkward manouver to get back in position without taking out the microphone stand something she would repeatedly have to do throughout the evening. The song saw some great guitar work from the band and a broad smile on Lisa's face as she sung the line "This is where you're supposed to be", for in front of an appreciative sold out crowd is exactly where she is supposed to be! A return to the "Mind Of Mine" EP for "Never Gonna Fall In Love" saw her give up her trusty guitar for some shakers and saw her deal with a faulty microphone by quickly switching to Kaity's without dropping a beat.
Any thoughts of resting on her laurels in 2019 were swiftly set aside as we had a little section in the middle of the show dedicated to showing off new material, "Everything Changes" co written with Kaity and Joe had the feel of a classic Nashville tune, full of lovely observations and nestling into the set immediately like an old friend. Next was Lisa's take on one of Kaity's songs "Up In Smoke", a wonderfully bittersweet song made all the more special by some little mandolin flourishes and Lisa's delivery. Another new song "Hopes High" was not only another tune that was immediately engaging but it gave her a chance to split the audience in two to provide different backing vocals. This was an artist demonstrating great stage craft and seemingly having a ball while doing it.
Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" was turned into a communal singalong before the main set closed with a switch in pace and tension, from singalong to absolute silence as she delivered "Giving Up the Ghost". With the roof of the Green Note well and lifted there was only one way to close with a quite stunning version of "In The End" which with Kaity providing the keyboards backing was simply outstanding, It may seem a little hasty to be handing out plaudits for 2019 when we are barely two weeks in but if we get to see many shows better than this in the remaining 50 weeks i'll be surprised .