Sinead Burgess / Brooke Law - The Slaughtered Lamb
Maybe it was the fact that each attendee was handed a goody bag on arrival, but there was a definite party atmosphere in The Slaughtered Lamb that suggested that the evening was going to be a good one. With Brooke Law coming off the back of attending the prestigious Buddy Holly Songwriters Retreat in Lubbock Texas, plus a big show last week at Bush Hall, and with Sinead having just finished the highly successful sold out tour with Kezia Gill, as well as dropping 2 fabulous singles, we had two artist on the top of the game, ready to provide a thoroughly entertaining evening.
This was our first time seeing Brooke Law play a full set acoustically in front of a large highly attentive indoor crowd. and she revelled in the atmosphere. Opening with her pre covid single "Millionaires", her delivery was a little more restrained than usual and it really brought the lyrics to life as she regaled us with tiny details about life on the "16th floor". Able to effortless move from the rocky chorus through to the delicately high pitched bridge, this was a set that would waste not a single second. Similarly "Not For Love" again enhanced the lyrics while the power of the chorus would see Brooke bounce up and down excitedly as she performed, her trademark hair spinning forwards at the end, as she nodded her head.
The first time #TEAMw21 saw Brooke was just over a year ago, and it was "We All Need Saving" that really made us sit up pay attention, and tonight was no different. Coming with a heartfelt introduction about mental health, tonight's version seemed to up the intensity more - the line
"And the world needs me and the world need you" never sounded more vivid. and emotional.
The songwriting course yielded a brand new song "Gypsy Woman", that had slower smouldering verses matched with choruses with the lyrics delivered at pace - new and brilliant. Brooke's next single due in November "Help Me" veers between a conversational style delivery and at times a delicate soulful whisper. If the last 2 songs represent the future then "Excuse Me" was introduced as a bolt from the past - written 10 years ago yet still unreleased. though Brooke likes to play it live. This was a revelation in this stripped back format, as with earlier the lyrics, and melody really came to the forefront
"Excuse me - if I say how it is
Excuse me but it is my business"
Announcing her final song "Boomerang" she was met with roomful of "Ah's" from a crowd wanting more, they were instead able to join in on the chorus. This was a quality set in front of the sort of the audience Brooke deserves each time she plays.
Sinead's set would begin with a little 10 minute interview with Jess T, which gave us a little more background on quite how this Australian lady had come to be playing before us. Dressed in a bright yellow suit, Sinead was genuinely touched that so many people has come out to see her on a Monday school night, and would sport a permanent smile for most of the evening. It would mainly be a set on acoustic guitar, with the assistance of s stomp pedal on an unusually large base plate. which literally saw Sinead playing a lot of the time on her front foot, although there was equally no denying a huge keyboard that took up half of the stage that would come into play later.
Despite only really being familiar with her newer material, all of Sineads set was like being reunited with old friends that you had known all life, in fact the whole evening was a masterclass in female singer
songwriting. Sinead's evening would commence with "Somewhere Between You and Vegas", the audience in the palm of her hand from the opening chord, many mouthing along to each word in sync.
The stomp box would add to the overall sound, but it would not detract an audience that were hanging on every word. Moving on to "Tennessee Bound" co written with room mate Kaylee Bell, was probably as revealing as the interview into how she had found her way to Nashville.
"Praising God Raising Hell" would open to a lovely harmonica sound which added a definite extra dimension to the song, it would return on each chorus. Armed with a splendid sense of humour, she would tell us about being nominated for an award before telling us that the next song "Reno" was the song that didn't win, then letting on that she was dating the guy that did, It was easy to see why it was nominated, more harmonica and a tip top chorus all went to make a cracking tune and Sinead's vocals would impressively soar as required.
For "What Word's Can't Say",a new song, Sinead would open with a hushed soft ballad delivery, on this upbeat positive song - the audience once again hung on every syllable and Sinead's voice seemed to reverberate around the room to great effect, Building up in volume as the song developed, there were some sustained notes that all added to the overall magnificence on the night - definitely one to watch out for on next years album.
The tempo immediately changed with a fast paced strum into "Nothing Left To Lose" which managed to incorporate both an audience singalong on the
"To lose, To Lose, To lose"
element of the chorus as well as effortlessly segueing into Tom Petty's "Learning To Fly" and then back into the original song. A brand new song would follow in the shape of "You Were Always Going To Break My Heart" is a song borne of heartbreak, full of little personal memories. sung at times with the words barely tumbling out. With emotion etched in each line and delivered with feeling, this would be one of many highlights in a night jam packed with sensational moments.This was to prove something of a purple patch , the new single "Ain't Thinking About You" was introduced as Sinead played an ever more fierce guitar intro under her explanation. This would see Sinead rocking out with a truly full throated vocal to match.
It was at this point in the evening that Sinead would move over to the keyboard, the first time she has has done so in public in the UK. The keyboard had earlier been revealed as being her route into music so it was no wonder she looked so natural and relaxed although she did confess to being slightly nervous, having not played for a month due to being on tour. Sinead would reveal how "Richie" became the tenth track of "Damaged Goods" before delivering a ballad, packed with drama
"I'm not one for dancing but I would waltz with you"
The extended version of "Damaged Good" has the "Deep Cut Demos" on it and one of them "Hearts In New York" effectively expanding on "Richie" was her next tune - equally as affecting and beautifully sung, it ended with Sinead letting a wry smile cross her face. One final piano moment would be a Shania Twain cover of "You're Still The One" which naturally turned into an audience singalong.
it was back to the guitar for the closing section, "Gonna Be Alright" maintained the singing mood, where Sinead would step back from the mic and lower her guitar playing to savour the sound coming at her. There would be a return to a real Americana sound with some forthright guitar playing on "Momma Raised a Rambling Man" with the stomp pedal getting a truly good workout, It would seamlessly segue into Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain". The main set effectively closed with "Wildflowers Of Colorado", a gently played guitar allowed an exceptional vocal to really shine. probably the best of the night in an extremely high quality set.
The final song of the evening, was the first of Sinead's recent singles "Rolling Stones", which have really set expectations high for next years new album. This capped off the party atmosphere, with the audience clapping along from the off. Sinead will surely return to the UK in 2024 off the back of this new album - she is a class act not to be missed,