• Words Chris Farlie Pictures Colin Jones

Twinnie / Laura Oakes - The Lexington


After a run of solo shows it was back to being part of a trio for Laura Oakes and it was exactly the right move for the more boisterous atmosphere of the The Lexington. So with the aid of a additional guitarist, and a percussionist, Laura Oakes opened her support slot with "Better In Blue Jeans" with the "Oh's" of the chorus being sung by the audience from the off. It was probably the only expected song of the evening as Laura decided to really mix things up with a batch of new songs and an unexpected cover. The first of the new songs "Welcome To The Family" saw her sing the first verse resting on her guitar as she detailed what she could see, as she looked out on her family. Matched to a cracking tune this was the first of many 5 star songs that she would drop into the set. There was a recall for "Old Ghosts" that was debuted last year but has yet to be recorded, which was followed by another new syllable stretching song "Do It For You" which had something of a dance chorus attached to some snappily delivered verses, it was something we've not seen before. It was a night for ripping up preconceptions, the announcement of a cover would not have come as a surprise, the choice of Sugar Ray's "Early In The Morning" certainly did. It showed Laura to have impeccable taste ( even as an 8 year old ) and this version she really stamped her authority on.

The layout of the Lexington does incline to it be a little noisy at time in the bar area at the back, however there was a palpable silence as Laura went solo for "Learn To Be Lonely Again", it's a Beth Nielson Chapman co write but is another of those 5 star songs we mentioned earlier that has taken Laura's writing to a new level. It's a song that demands your attention and was wonderfully delivered tonight. With one final song left in the set, Laura continued to confound, choosing a band version of another new song "How Big Is Your World?" to close out on. This was another five star song in an excellent performance, Laura at the moment is on the absolute top of game and deserving of all the success coming her way.

Anyone who saw Twinnie kick start the Indigo into life at C2C will not have been surprised by the performance that we got here tonight, it was that and more, the only thing holding her back being the size of the stage. Having said that she worked every available inch of the available stage and anyone taking pictures tonight will have come away with plenty of material with any number of poses and cheeky winks to have captured. For those yet to see Twinnie Lee Moore, she can only be described as larger than life, a character who has a marvellous rapport with the audience, constantly breaking the fourth wall for some crowd interaction. Musically she is also a box of tricks, she'll deliver a sassy in your face song but can then deliver a ballad like the best torch singer and don't underestimate her songwriting either, there's more going on there as well than initially meets the ear!.

Taking to the stage in a mustard trouser suit to some thunderous drumming and flashing lights, she immediately strapped on her acoustic guitar and launched into ""Type Of Girl" which pretty much lays out her manifesto "There'll be magic mixed with a little madness"! I A punchy pop song that hits well above it's weight in terms of lyrics letting you know immediately you are not dealing with a lightweight!

It would seem that we are destined to hear a lot of from Twinnie this year, her songs shake you by the lapel and demand that you listen to them, "More" was full of attitude, "There red lips don't give a sh*t!" being an example during which she was bouncing up and down as she sang, and sing she most certainly did with some powerfully held sustained notes. Her next song "Daddy Issues" was one that was a great success at C2C as it has the most overtly country tune of her set, married to the lyric "Why do good good women stay with bad bad men?". Twinnie was able to say so much without words with just a sideways tilt of the head or by shooting a glance. .

At this point it was time to take off her guitar, to play a song she reckons will never get played on the radio, "Bad Bitch" with its surprise pay off line. It was highly energetic display that left Twinnie gasping "I'm so unfit" but then she had spent the last 3 minutes utilising every inch of the tiny amount of available stage. For some, Twinnie will be a relatively new name but as she acknowledges, she had an EP out 6 years ago, which she joked that she had a garage full of. Hopefully she's was being a little self depricating, as it was a rather wonderful EP, "Cool" being one of the songs that shows that she has always has an ear for a good tune.

Constantly defying any attempts to be pigeonholed "Superman" took us into ballad territory, starting as an almost Llana Del Ray style ballad, delivered initially with her hands in her pocket, before moving to using the handheld mic, as the song continued to build into an epic ballad. If any sign was needed that Twinnie's star is in the ascendancy it came with the autobiographical "Hollywood Gypsy", which without asking was echoed back to her by the packed Lexington. Closing poignantly on the words "I roam I roam" this was another powerful performance backed by an exceptionally professional well drilled band.

By now the temperature in the venue was soaring, and it was to be a jacket less performance for the rest of the show. There was more sassily delivered lines in "I Hate You Cupid" which saw Twinnie casually holding the mic out to the crowd and allowing herself a smile as they played their part singing back. Another of the songs from that original EP "Lie To Me" was one the absolute highlights of the night, as at the Indigo she held the microphone stand tight and sang with a concentrated effort on this big ballad that gripped the room.

It was nice to see "Social Babies", worked up into a full band song, having seen it premiered at he Green Note last year and yet another change in style came with "Manicure" delivered in an almost kitch 60's style to great effect. Twinnie was also able to get the many nods of approval for the subject matter of "I Love You Now Change"!. If the show needed any further lifting, it came in the home straight with an impromptu, off set list, slowed down version of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", just the one verse and a chorus before launching into an explosive finale with "Better When I'm Drunk" including an astonishing high kick which saw her leg sailing past her ear!!! If there is one minor quibble from the evening i'd have possibly liked to have exchanged one of the sassier songs for another chance to hear her really belt a ballad out or a song where she really had something to say as I suspect there is a lot more to Twinnie.

The encore when it came was simply just Twinnie and her guitarist for a most heartfelt song. She took to a stool for "The Show" a tribute to her mum who had made the special journey down by train and was having to leave swiftly after the final song to make the return trip. It was easy to see that this song meant a lot and it brought a hugely enjoyable evening to a close "Everything I do I get from you" she sang, finishing with an almost operatic flourish. Before starting the encore she had eschewed the usual showbiz tradition of going off and then coming back on stage - "I'm not playing Wembley" she said - to which someone in the crowd shouted "You will be!"

#LauraOakes #Twinnnie

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