C2C Live Review: Izzie Walsh - The ICON & Big Entrance Stage
With the upstairs shopping floor closed off, this year the ICON stage was relocated to inside the Observatory pub, a few metres further round from the bizarrely named Garden Stage. But for a chalk board outside you could have easily missed it. As Izzie Walsh was setting up she remarked that she "felt right at home" being in a pub. It soon became apparent that the venue was very much still a working pub generating a lot of noise which would always better suit a noisier band such as Tim Prottey-Jones who had graced the stage a few minutes earlier. With a somewhat erratic sound engineer who kept adding and taking away echo from the vocals - it all made for a rather strange experience. Izzie as ever was her charming self and made one of the only political gestures on show throughout the weekend with a "Support Ukraine" T Shirt. She and the band put in a solid shift given the circumstances, even mannaging to air a couple of new songs includng the intriguingly named "Daydrinking Astonaut", - better things were soon to come.
The next set could not have been more different, and although being given the 10:30 in the morning graveyard slot on the Big Entrance Stage, things would fall perfectly into place. With the cajon replaced by a crisp clear drum beat and the sound wonderfully clear, this was a much better advertisement for the wonders of Ms Walsh. The audience for this time slot always have a certain look to them, perpetually bleary eyed, often to be found clasping a reviving cup of coffee to help recover form the previos nights excesses. This year the Big Entrance stage seemed to attract a particularly fierce Arctic wind blowing across it,howevert Izzie would soon be warming everyone up.
New songs would bookend the set, the opener "Fool For Love" started as a slow acoustic number before halfway through speeding away with a life of its own. - It was a promising start with lines like "I'm not perfect" and set expectations high that we might get some new recorded material for 2022. As she moved on to "Take Me Back" the contrast in sound with the previous show was demonstrable and the whole band seemed lifted by it. For "Not Today" there was the dramatic contrast between the slightly eccentric timing of the verses against the dramatic change of pace for the choruses,loaded with false finishes that saw Izzie flash a smile each time the audience were caught out, this was a hugely enjoyable way to kickstart the day.
Izzie's "Ideals" EP was undoubtedly one of the best of 2021, as was her live show at The Grace, with her spectacular cream suit!, The EP provided the sets key moments - One of our personal highlights was "Blue Collar Coastline" with its glorious bass line, crisp drum beat and divine banjo which all went together to form the perfect backing for Izzie to make her pleas for people to be able to express themselves freely.
Introducing "The Curse" as being a song about "The rich being rich and the poor being poor", Izzie took the opportunity for some deliciously fierce full on vocals, concluding with a celebratory "Whoo" on completion.
"San Francisco ( or anywhere)" sounding marvellous with some excellent banjo work before her set finished as it had the previous day with "Daydrinking Astronaut" - surely a definite single for the future - with some lovely jangly banjo and lines like "I thought I could fly but I fell" - There was just too much to take in on one proper listening and we look forward to hearing it again soon - it certianly closed the set out on a high.