Rozi Plain at St John on Bethnal Green
It feels a little like sacrilege, sat on a pew in a church surrounded by alcohol and raised voices. There’s no need to worry though: it’s not Sunday Mass. It’s late on a Wednesday and people are waiting inside St John on Bethnal Green for Rozi Plain to come on stage, or altar. An unorthodox setting, but it is East London.
Playing mostly songs off her latest album, she glides through the ambience of Five Beans and Jogalong with the help of her ever-changing band that tonight includes a saxophonist and a harpist. Plain (dressed in all-blue attire with a matching guitar) goes along with “umm” and “ahh” fillers and stories about drinking “the strongest coffee in the world yesterday” that she hasn’t quite returned to earth from. Everyone here is game for this kind of added entertainment and laughs hang high in the air.
Yard, amid fumbling attempts to explain its origin, is the shortest and slowest roll of all the songs. “You are floating around,” she sings like she knows just how she’s making the room feel. Agreeable acoustics magnify the breezy delicacy of the sounds that are jolted only, albeit gently, in the last few numbers by the beats of Best Team and Rearrange, the last of which coaxes out some of the congress from their seats and into the nave for a small jive.
Plain once admitted that she’s played more support acts than main acts in her career and, perhaps because of it, this headline slot isn’t always there – Red Dot comes across loose and haphazard for example. At times the atmosphere is slightly listless, but great music and performances make for a pleasant evening.
For further information about Rozi Plain and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Jogalong here: