Kathryn Williams - Dancehouse Theatre - 11.10.02

For a venue normally associated with the cream of comedy talent from Johnny Vegas to Richard Hall. It's a refreshing change to enjoy and evening with an accomplished singer songwriter in lovely intimate surroundings. With a strict no smoking policy and comfortable seats it's an ideal setting for the subtle, restrained, talented and unassuming Kathryn Williams. Her unique brand of sweetly sung folk influenced music is perfect for this room and has just the right ambience for a calming sensory evening. The rise of folk over the last few years has become a lot more credible with the emergence of Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy and tonight's attraction Ms Williams. Her new album "Old Low Light" is a dark exploration of sexual awakenings and has sinister undertones both lyrically and musically. Williams is joined on stage by the four musicians who played on the aforementioned album and between themselves play and array of instruments from the usual suspects through to double bass, violin and occasionally backing vocals.

Opening song "Little Black Numbers" may be the title of her last album, but is confusingly a brand new song of her latest album. Much more relaxed, at ease with her audience and more confident as a performer than she was two years ago at the Hop & Grape venue. With her softly spoken Liverpudlian accent she chats comfortable to their audience as if they're her close inner circle of friends - so genuine an artist she undoubtedly is. Where folk music of the past never reached out of an incestuous few, Williams audience is a demographic mix of young couple, students and the slightly more mature folk music fan (beard optional). The bulk of tonight's set is taken up by the new album although the odd track from "Dog Leap Stairs" and "Little Black Numbers" are revisited and are all the more welcome for it. Other musical highlights include the jazzy "Devices" all the better with the semi-acoustic arrangement. The haunting melody of "Mirrorball" is simply unforgettable. While an anecdote about a self deluded hitchhiker who Kathryn encountered brings us the inspiration behind the weird and wonderful "Daydream And Saunter".

Encoring with a countrified cover version of the Velvet Underground's "Do What You Should" Kathryn Williams brings her show to it's climax and with backing from her excellent band it's been an absolute pleasure to have been in their company

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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