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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE

LIVE REVIEW: JENNY COLQUITT - BELLE ROSCOE - 229 THE VENUE

A year or so earlier at the same venue, Jenny Colquitt and her band enthralled us for nigh on two hours, it was such a special night that for the tour accompanying her excellent new album "Staring At The Moon" she decided to repeat the experience. That earlier event also introduced us for the first time to Rachel Croft and this time round, maintaining a remarkably high standard of support artist, it was to be our first sighting of Belle Roscoe. Made up of Australian siblings Matty and Julia Gurry, they put in a shift that would prove to be highly entertaining and a chance for them to air some new tunes.

JENNY COLQUITT - BELLE ROSCOE - 229 THE VENUE

Opening with a twin guitar line up, initial comparisons would obviously be with The Civil Wars, within seconds they had created an atmosphere just by singing some opening harmonies before heading into a strident Americana riff. A glorious combination of playing and voices created a powerful absorbing sound for "The Love Has Gone". Complete with a glorious guitar solo, Belle Roscoe had us hooked from the off. Immediately Matty would set up the groove for the next song, with Julia switching her guitar for a tambourine and one drumstick that would pound out a beat as required on "Side Stepping" with it's haunting refrain "Rules don't apply to your kind". They were both visually and aurally striking.


The next tune, would again set the scene with some well worked guitar play, a dark brooding riff, would then be joined by some dreamy playing that set an almost hypnotic mood before a word was sung, on "Through The Canyon", the twin harmonies again working ever so well.. Matty's guitar solo's were always absorbing and never self indulgent, the sort you you get lost in and never want to end, and the one on this song was no exception.

JENNY COLQUITT - BELLE ROSCOE - 229 THE VENUE

The next song was introduced as a "smutty song" by Matty and a "sex song" by Julia, built around a a killer riff, Julia's vocals had a husky sultriness to them as she would proclaim "I want to love you". Things would slow for "This Is My Last Goodbye From New York", Julia would grab the mic with both hands as she sung, delivering an intense performance, With Matty adding a harmonica solo, this was incredibly theatrical. as if we were watching a high drama playing out. Time with Belle Roscoe passed incredibly quickly which is always a good sign, the closer "Soho Shoes" built around a fast guitar riff supported again by a pounding drum beat, built into a real crescendo of noise before fading away.


Belle Roscoe proved to be excellent company and promised a full band show later in the year - it will be one not to be missed.






Throughout the evening Jenny had been darting in and out of the assembled audience, dressed in black, wearing her black hat, greeting a familiar face or two. Before we wax lyrical about Jenny's performance, full kudos should be paid to the band, Ray Gunn, a bass player who managed to remain expressionless, hidden behind a pair of dark glasses, showing no emotion no matter how exciting the groove he was hitting became, On drums at the back Josh Roscoe a percussionist who perfectly pitched his performance to match each song and the venue, easily able to transform from barely touching the drums to driving a forceful back beat. Finally on guitar and effects pedals, on a night of exceptional guitar work, Liam Kent would be a musician in total sympathy with his vocalist, in a display that enabled Jenny to reach even greater heights.

JENNY COLQUITT - BELLE ROSCOE - 229 THE VENUE

After a quick "Hello London" it was straight into "How Do You Feel?", initially a gentle blend of acoustic and electric guitars, Jenny's voice restrained yet firm. Gentle shimmering of cymbals would further add to the atmosphere before the full band would kick in. With the volume then set to rocking, Jenny's vocal moved to powerhouse and you were left pondering how she was able generate such volume with seemingly little change of effort. The song would end with the band dropping away for Jenny to deliver the final few line, finishing with a big smile that would remain on her face the whole evening.


The theme of asking questions followed into "Soldier Of The Modern Day", the sound gradually building in layers, the drummer initially hitting the rim of his drum, the guitar via effects sounding more like a keyboard all adding to the ambience, eventually leading to a chorus that would see Jenny hitting ever higher, ever more powerful notes. It would end after such drama with a whispered "Thank You". For "Open Pages" Jenny would indulge in a little shameless rock posing as the song entered it's "All Along The Watchtower" phase before ending the song on a powerful whistle.


JENNY COLQUITT - BELLE ROSCOE - 229 THE VENUE

Moving to her keyboard "Dear Me" slowed the pace,with a much softer yet somehow equally emphatic delivery. Once again the band excellently adding to their overall sound in layers. It would be followed by "Without You" one of the new albums, early singles, with a dramatic piano based start. The opening verse delivered quiet and truly heartfelt as much as the later ones were delivered with a passion. The band would leave and there would would be some audience business to attend to - a quick "Happy Birthday" and acknowledgement of a fan having travelled from Germany specially.

JENNY COLQUITT - BELLE ROSCOE - 229 THE VENUE

Not having to compete with the band, gave Jenny free reign to play with her delivery, ranging from a breathy whisper to angelic purity on "I Won't Let You Drive". similarly "Bravest Of The Brave" sought to make the gentlest combination of playing and vocal, drawing a "Wow" from the audience after the final note in what had been quite a spectacle. Moving from the piano, "I'm Fading" saw a delicious harmony delivered over a gently picked acoustic guitar. The excellent "Poet On The Street", would see Jenny play solo yet be able to channel the power of a band in her guitar playing.



JENNY COLQUITT - BELLE ROSCOE - 229 THE VENUE

The band would return and immediately hit the loud rocking groove of "Better Love" with Jenny firing out the vocals in quick succession. From her "Something Beautiful" album came "Shape" driven forward by prominent powerful percussion and soaring vocals before moving to an anthemic finale. Musically the drama would not stop all evening "By Design" would see Jenny bouncing up and down behind her piano, her expression moving to a wide eyed stare as she delivered the final "This is my design" .



"Paradise" would open like a theme to a high end drama series with it's prominent keyboard line before becoming a full on production in its own right! Jenny's material is so unique that introducing a cover version can be a little jarring in that the mood can be temporarily lost, however not tonight - her version of The Cranberries "Zombie", slotted in perfectly and benefitted from getting the full "Colquitt" treatment!. Long time live crowd favourite "Falling Angels" followed, impressively the audience already knew their lines ahead of Jenny's demonstration. With a chugga chugga bass, and Jenny firing out the vocals in rapid succession this was something of a tour de force - towards the end the band would fade away to let the audience have their moment in the limelight, singing at full volume.


JENNY COLQUITT - BELLE ROSCOE - 229 THE VENUE

Another new song from the album "For A Moment" would see Jenny crouch down over her piano towards the end like some sort of mad professor as she caressed the higher notes on her keyboard. In something of a musical turn the Widnes Warriors tune about her home town "Dirty Town" was funkified by the bass, in a stupendous stirring version. Much the same could be said of "Something Beautiful" where the band were in blistering form. The main set would close with the title track from the album "Staring At The Moon", the opening gentle after the bombast of the preceding songs before, becoming almost symphonic built around the most delightful of melodies.


JENNY COLQUITT - BELLE ROSCOE - 229 THE VENUE

The encore of "No-One Loves Me Like You", from it's Elbow like intro would close out the evening in the most stunning style - imagine the power and swagger of Bowies "Heroes" it was akin to that. Talentbanq supremo Ray Jones would describe the evening from the stage as "A Masterclass" and who could argue? As the song reached it's finale, Jenny would raise her guitar and smile, taking in the moment before going on to receive a well earned standing ovation.




An evening of total entertainment of the highest quality.


Landscape photos of Jenny Colquitt courtesy of Michelle Fredericks Photography


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