It has been fascinating to see how artists who have suffered an enforced lay off are gradually emerging from their hibernation. None would seem to have made better use of their spare time than Izzie Walsh. Having already released one of the years most attention grabbing EP's in "Ideals", she has taken it out on the road with a show equally destined to raise an eyebrow or two.
Things commenced with Izzie singing in the ether before eventually Taking to the stage in a spectacular white suit, she immediately turned her back on the audience, lifting first her left arm, then her right, to reveal the effect of the tassles hanging down, before then moving into a full Angel Of The North pose - now that is how to make an entrance!
The "Ideals" EP is sonically exhilarating, with keyboards and violins to the fore, tonights line up means there has to be a little reinterpretation of some of the songs yet the excitement most definitely remained and was enhanced by Izzie being on stage. There was a marvelous band playing tonight but i'd be surprised if any of the audience could pick them out of an identity parade, so magnetic was Izzie, you could not help but be drawn to her and wonder what she might do next!
Things kicked off with "Blue Collar Coastline", from "Ideals", if anything taking on something of a funkier vibe than the recorded version due to the excellent guitar work. Izzie immediately unwound the mic, and started to prowl the stage as she sung with a myriad of facial expressions. Those expressions would become even more pronounced with "Elevator Pitch" with the internal questions, "Should I love myself or should I hate myself" visibly acted out before our very eyes, reinforcing their dramatic power.
Replacing the mic and putting on an acoustic guitar while noting the cost of parking in London, she launched into "Take Me Back", delivered as a wondrous assault especially the chorus which was much more punchy than the recorded version and aided by the addition of a banjo to the overall sound. With no time to capture breath, Izzie was already starting the next song "Not Today". If you judge a band by how happy they seem then Izzie and her crew clearly knew quite how impressive they sounded as they could not help but smile at the end of each song, this one even having a cheeky false ending.
Taking a quick swig of Red Stripe between songs the set barely paused for breath, "Lie To Me" opened to a rare delicate respite in sound before Izzie ramped up the intensity. This constant switching between quiet and noise once again added to the drama of the song with Izzie showing her full vocal range with some exceptional singing - outstanding!.
"The Curse" followed a similar path the quiet opening verse leading in to a frenetic enthralling banjo lead escapade that veritably raced along ending with Izzie giving out an audible "Whoo" as the end.
Izzie's current single "Haunted" is defined by its violin and keyboards, so with both absent tonight this was always destined to sound different, In the end the result was to throw the attention even more onto the hurt in Izzie's lyrics. while the electric guitar took on the role of being lead instrument. Similarly "Alone" flew by with an incredible intensity, exploding on the chorus, emphasising "all these nights on my own".
A final burst of tracks from the "Ideals" was to close out the evening, "San Francisco (or anywhere)" started with the audience providing the melody line while Izzie once again performed while moving form side to side across the stage, dancing so much that her earring fell out. Things closed with "Jimmy", Izzie once again giving full reign to tell the story through the art of facial expression as much as through the lyrics.One final piece of drama saw the Izzie deliver lines while crouched like an Americana Kate Bush. Not one to overstay her welcome the set was wrapped up in just under fifty minutes but make no mistake this was electrifying stuff and this new EP and stage show should take Izzie far.