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Live Review: Lucy Rose with Pete Roe at London Electric Brixton – 22nd November 2012

By on Wednesday, 5th December 2012 at 2:00 pm

It’s been a roller coaster year for Lucy Rose. Stepping out of the shadows of Bombay Bicycle Club has proven to be a transition well worth making and as the year winds up, she’s proven to be one of the standout artists of it. Fitting then, that tonight, back in the city she calls home; Lucy and her full accompanying band are playing their biggest headline show to date and yet she still appears to be the same friendly, shy artist that she was when ‘Middle of the Bed’ first appeared almost 18 months ago.

Support at tonight’s show at Brixton’s Electric comes from Pete Roe. All round nice guy and Lucy’s guitar tech for the night, Roe’s music is inoffensive and enjoyable, yet is in little danger of being as popular as contemporaries Benjamin Francis Leftwich or Jamie N Commons. Still, he does well to set the scene for Rose.

As Lucy Rose takes to the stage, she’s as unassuming as ever; even as cheered on by fifteen hundred fans she sits on her stool and begins. With just one record, you’d think it would be difficult to fill such a high profile headline set, but with seeming effortlessness Lucy Rose moves between literally every track on it. From most, this would seem both pedantic and boring, but with ‘Like I Used To’, you really do have a record that, for the most part is enjoyable from start to finish. Even weaker tracks like ‘Shiver’ and ‘Night Bus’, which make an appearance towards the front of the set are given a new lease on life in Rose’s live setting as you rekindle the endearing nature that the tracks exuded on their first listen.

Rose keeps crowd interaction to a minimum aside from explaining how much the night means to her (a lot) and that she’s going to try play 30 seconds of a track that’s not yet really been written. The latter results in an equally big cheer as the former, even though the following minute is by far the strangest of the evening, but she follows this confusing moment with ‘Middle of the Bed’, putting to rest any doubts you may have been building about how good she really is as a performer.

In ‘Bikes’, a track that had seen her presented with a pint of milk at the show in Liverpool, the lines “listen up, listen here, everybody scream out loud” are met with abundant cheers that border on deafening as everyone present appears to be willing Rose on to succeed and with that, the main set is over. TGTF’s highlight of the night however, is the closing track. Just when you think she might be leaving it out for personal reasons (‘Like I Used To’ is of course, a very personal record), ‘Be Alright’ is played. “In my heart you would stay a while with me, and we danced until the morning light / You said to me we’ll be alright”, she sings in her quaint manner. It’s fitting in so many ways and with that, you feel that this roller coaster has finished on a high, musically and emotionally.


Interview: Pete Roe

By on Thursday, 27th May 2010 at 12:00 pm

Pete Roe wowed me 2 weeks ago when he opened for Laura Marling at Iota (review here). So intrigued and impressed I was with this Bristol singer/songwriter that I just had to get inside that head of his and ask him some questions. Pete nicely obliged and wrote us from the road. Read on about his formative years as a musician, his thoughts on what makes a folk singer and how he became part of Marling’s live band.

Hi Pete. Where are you today and what are you up to?
Hello! I have just arrived in Denver with our touring party. I’m opening up for Laura Marling as well as playing in her band on this U.S. jaunt. I’m sorry to say there’s been very little to report. Lots and lots of driving. We’ve got an average of 8 hours a day at the moment. But spirits are good and all’s well.

When did you start playing guitar, singing, and songwriting? Were there any particular artists that were important in your formative years that spurred you on?
I’ve had a couple of starts I suppose you could say. When I was 13 I was really inspired to get better at playing piano because of Dr. John, largely from watching ‘The Last Waltz’, the Scorsese documentary about the Band. So piano was my instrument for many years, but hen when I was twenty or so a friend got me really in to Dylan, and after hearing ‘Blood on the Tracks’ I was hooked and started playing a lot more guitar.

Songwriting is something I’d always wanted to do. I started writing when I was thirteen or so. There’s some proper disasters lurking around from that time on some old cassettes.

Have you always enjoyed and played folk music? Or are there/ were there other music genres that have grabbed your attention?
My dad plays a lot of Irish folk music, and there’s always been music in our family. I’ve never really got involved in the Irish stuff. Blues was the main thing that got me going. Any music out of New Orleans really. Jazz I’ve dabbled in. Badly. But I always enjoy playing new types of music. I put together a bluegrass band a few years ago in which I played banjo. It was great fun and you always learn new stuff playing different sorts of music.

I read that you are from Bristol. Did growing up / living there affect the kind of music you play?
Bristol is a marvellous melting pot of music. People always ask me what the scene is like there, and I think they are expecting me to say its one genre of music. But it’s really not. The caliber of musicianship in the city in enormous. The PRS (Performing Rights Society) recently announced that Bristol is the most musical city in Britain in terms of musicians per capita. And everyone plays with everyone else which is really healthy.

I was really impressed with the songs from it you played at Iota in Arlington, Virginia recently. Have you enjoyed touring America?
It’s been great touring over here. Each place is different form the next. I’ve never seen this much of the country before either. Tell you what though our van is a squeeze. Ten people, suitcases, instruments, records and t-shirts all crammed in the van.

To me, one of the most important qualities in a folk singer is being able to tell a wonderful, emotional story through song and to make the audience feel those emotions. What is being a ‘folk singer’ for you?

You got it. I love stories in songs. It’s addictive too. I find it really hard to not write story songs now. One of my favourite story type folk singers is Chris Wood, an English chap. He has this marvellous song called ‘One in a Million’, about a young man working in a fish and chip shop. I won’t spoil the story. The song is about 10 minutes long but it never get boring – you really get invested in the characters. That’s what I like.

You play keyboards and guitar and you also sing as part of Laura Marling’s band. Did I miss any instruments? How did that ‘gig’ come about?

Jesse, the drummer of one of the first bands I was in moved to London a couple of years before I did and played a bit with Laura. When Laura needed a regular band, she needed someone that played piano, guitar, banjo and sang. I was the only person that anyone knew that could. Sometimes it’s better to be Jack-of-all-trades!

So your new EP ‘The Merry Go Around’ is coming out on 07 June. Tell me how you decided which songs would be on this EP, as I imagine it’s hard to choose from all your babies which to present to the world.
Well it was a tricky one. There were lots of other songs that I thought about putting on or maybe saving some for an album. But in the end, I decided to record my four best songs. And there you go.

Of the singer/songwriters out there today, who do respect most (besides Laura Marling)? And why?
I’ve just discovered Sam Amidon. He’s got a marvellous record called ‘All is Well’. I can’t recommend it enough. Gillian Welch I love, Joni Mitchell too. John Martyn’s a big influence. Other songwriters to look out for – Nathaniel Rateliff and Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell.

Thanks very much Pete. I really hope your EP is a success, because I really feel like Britain and the world needs to hear much more from you.
Thanks very much!

Pete Roe’s debut EP ‘The Merry Go Around’ will be released on Communion Records on 07 June. You can pre-order the EP from Townshend Records. Communion is hosting a special launch party for Roe at the Luminaire on the Kilburn High Road on 16 June; the party will feature Roe, Hot Feet, Alessi’s Ark and Pepe Belmonte. Advance tickets can be purchased here for £6.


MP3 of the Day #186: Pete Roe

By on Monday, 24th May 2010 at 10:00 am

Pete Roe moved to London and was quickly spotted by Laura Marling for his piano-playing skills, becoming an important member of Marling’s touring band. But Roe was discovered by Communion Records, an independent label founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons, Kevin Jones of Cherbourg and producer Ian Grimble, and will be touring the UK in June in support of his upcoming EP, ‘The Merry-Go-Round’.

Have a listen to a track from the EP, ‘Bellini’. It’s a perfect example of what folk music done right sounds like – spot on acoustic guitar and spot on vocals sung with the greatest of emotion. After seeing him open for Laura Marling last week, I’m convinced. You will be too.

Oooops, attached the wrong MP3! Have attached the correct one now!

MP3: Pete Roe – Bellina

Wednesday 9th June 2010 – Birmingham Glee Club
Thursday 10th June 2010 –Manchester Trinity Church
Friday 11th June 2010 – Nottingham Red Rooms
Sunday 13th June 2010 – Bristol Louisiana
Monday 14tg June 2010 – Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s
Tuesday 15th June 2010 – Glasgow Nice’n’Sleazys
Wednesday 16th June 2010 – London Luminaire

Pete Roe’s forthcoming EP ‘The Merry-Go-Round’ will be released on Communion Records on 7 June.


Live Review: Laura Marling with Pete Roe and Smoke Fairies at Iota, Arlington, VA – 16 May 2010

By on Wednesday, 19th May 2010 at 2:00 pm

Good folk singer/songwriters show that they can play their instrument well along with singing to tell a compelling story. Iota is ‘the’ place for country / folk-type acts to play in the D.C. area (for example, the venue played host to Fanfarlo last December). So for Laura Marling‘s first appearance in the Washington DC area, what better place to see her than at the smallish club in the Clarendon neighbourhood of Arlington, Virginia?

Pete Roe, ‘discovered’ by London independent record label Communion probably as he was playing piano for Marling live in concert, started the evening off right with a short but enjoyable set of well-crafted folk songs. If you want to see true talent, listen to a singer/songwriter stand in front of a microphone with nothing but his voice and guitar. In the case of Roe, the warm timbre of his voice perfectly complemented his dexterity on acoustic guitar. Just gorgeous. His EP entitled ‘The Merry-Go-Round’ is set to be released on 07 June.

The second act to play, Smoke Fairies, seemed to be a mismatch for Pete Roe and Laura Marling. They’re a four-piece band fronted by two very fetching women, Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire, singing amazing harmonies. I say they were a mismatch because their songs generally are harder than what is normally considered ‘folk’ and at times even skirt the line for rhythm and blues, as in the song ‘Sunshine’. Blamire in particular shone with her mastery of the guitar, whether she was picking notes or playing slide guitar, making me wonder if she’s studied Jimmy Page’s style. For example, see their ‘River Song’, sounding like Led Zeppelin’s softer numbers, like ‘The Battle of Evermore’ or ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’.

People had been milling about, getting drinks from the bar, and quietly chatting during the first two acts. But when it came time for Laura Marling, everyone stayed put where they were as if children at school assembly. Marling came onstage, putting on one of several acoustic guitars, and looked over the crowd nervously. I was surprised to see that she was back to blonde hair, as all the promos she’s done for her current album ‘I Speak Because I Can’ (reviewed on TGTF here) she is a brunette. Come to think of it, this change in hair colour actually made her more human and less massive folk star, because no longer was she this mysterious woman framed by long brown hair – she’d turned into the girl next door, looking as innocent as a priest’s daughter.

I’ve never been a huge fan of her work but I was taken by the song ‘Rambling Man’ that seems to be a mainstay on 6music as of late. But I can say for certain that as soon as Marling opened her mouth I was bewitched by this woman. She stood in front of us, at first looking anxious, playing her guitar and singing about life and love effortlessly and brilliantly. She became visibly more comfortable as the night wore on, spurred on by the clapping, whistling and shouts of “I love you!” coming from the appreciative crowd. It seems to me that nearly every man I know in England is in love with her, and I can see why. She isn’t even of legal drinking age in America yet, but she sings with wisdom as if she has lived several lifetimes.

The title track of her Mercury Prize-nominated debut, ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’, is a simple, sweet, yet quite astute look on life, and newer tracks ‘Devil’s Spoke’ and ‘I Speak Because I Can’ are hauntingly beautiful. The highlight of the night for me was ‘Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)’, which Marling prefaced asking if anyone had been to England before (many people in the audience whooped delightedly to affirm this) and explained it was a song that she sings because she is homesick for England. I nearly wept. Not just because I miss England as well but because the song is just a gorgeous piece of music and live, it completely blew me away.

After the cut: more photos and Laura Marling set list.

Continue reading Live Review: Laura Marling with Pete Roe and Smoke Fairies at Iota, Arlington, VA – 16 May 2010


About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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