Kerri Watt - Never Fade Sessions - The Social - Little Portland Street
The Never Fade Sessions are always something of an eclectic mix, held at The Social on Little Portland Street, This basement venue is a somewhat strange place for watching music, as it offers relatively few good vantage points, tonight however is probably the best I've ever seen it with each performers fans and relatives revolving around the venue after they had played and then respectfully watching the next act.
The previous acts had been entertaining but it was one particular act that had brought us into town on a cold Monday night, someone who currently is in a rich vein of inventiveness both visually and audibly that deserves every success that should surely be coming her way.
The last time we saw Kerri live was at C2C 2019 where she literally stopped us in her tracks, tonight she is playing solo and although we've seen her many times before, this show will be just that little bit different. There was a certain confidence and swagger exuding from her performance in both her guitar playing and singing, as well her general stage craft which instantly won over a room of people, many of whom would have been seeing her for the first time.
Taking to the stage unannounced, and playing in near gloom as the only light on stage being so close wasn't actually lighting her up but a sign behind her, Kerri gently set about silencing the crowd with her guitar intro to "Cut Me Loose".
The song that in its recorded format fuses together a number of styles making something unique and comes with fantastic accompanying video, was stripped to the barest of bones, yet Kerri was more than able to do it justice solo, by giving it an intensity in her delivery and retaining the vocal lines from the recorded version. The stark delivery allowed the lyrics to shine through and receive greater prominence like when she sang "Stay away from me and take that attitude with you". Kerri's voice was rich and soulful on the night and she even provided a little percussion for herself at one point with the stamp of her white heeled boots. Finding time for a little guitar break and a bit of showmanship by leaving the song hanging for a second, which emphasized just how quiet the venue had become, Kerri then went on to finish on a soulful flourish.
Moving on to her current single "Kissing Fools", Kerri once again mined a soulful vibe for the opening verse, before speeding up for the chorus. It's a flirty little number and while performing Kerri gave a cheeky knowing little tilt of the head on some of the lines like "We don't have to keep it PG if you know what I mean!". With a little more stagecraft being shown by taking the last verse with a quieter guitar and vocal she then roared back for the final chorus to great effect.
Completing the set of her last three singles was "Chasing Aeroplanes", opening with the gentlest of guitar intros, before addressing one of the songs key themes, ie what you have to give up to chase a successful music career, "Do we all feel the same when we see those tiny hands?". Giving her all on the chorus. with a successful soulful bluesy feel, this was truly great stuff and showed Kerri solo in a completely new light.
The next two songs were ones that will hopefully be on her highly anticipated forthcoming album. Introduced as a "wannabe James Bond theme", "Hellfire" had a quiet guitar intro over which Kerri produced a vocal that at one point almost went a little Kate Bush, it led to a much more intense chorus with Kerri upping her guitar volume and vocal on the "Now I can see" line . Even with just one voice and a guitar there was already the cinematic feel inferred by Kerri's introduction, so one can only imagine at what the final recorded result will be.
The final song "Band Of Gold" (no not that one!), was an attempt to bring some Californian sunshine to a central London basement and it well and truly succeeded. With a chorus more infectious than corona, this was immediately attention grabbing and was a great feel good way to close things out. It might seem to be a lot of effort to go to cover a set that clocked in at just over 20 minutes but it was definitely 100% worth it.