Amy Macdonald at Islington Assembly Hall
Scottish national treasure Amy Macdonald returns to the scene following a four-year hiatus, using this tiny tour as a bit of an experiment: she tests the water with a mix of new and old material. After three commercially successful albums, Macdonald teases the audience with the promise of a fourth, arriving next year. If this exhibit of new material is anything to go by, her latest offering will prove to be a step in the right direction.
A placid yet attentive audience supportively welcomes Macdonald to the stage. The mood is intimate for the first half of the set, then the crowd becomes fully engaged with singalong number Slow It Down; from that moment on, the energy continues to climb. Supported by an enthusiastic but by no means stage-stealing band, Macdonald provides the tentatively bopping fans with songs such as This Pretty Face and the now politically charged ballad Fourth of July.
As a live performer, Macdonald wonderfully attaches a deep and specific emotion to each tune. With a sense of abandon, as she uses her distinctive and unique vocals, it is refreshing to see an artist that feels her way through the setlist instead of pandering to the audience. The Scottish singer engages wittily with the front row in between songs, but as the music plays she appears to be in her own, fantastic world. New material such as Automatic, which makes its debut tonight, holds a familiarity, and once again displays Macdonald’s incredible skill of creating a folk hybrid with many musical shades.
When the night draws to a close and her biggest hit This Is the Life is dutifully belted out, the encore allows the audience one more treat. Down by the Water – a new song – generates a huge positive response; with a thick folky feel, relying heavily on a Gaelic-esque vocal wall of sound, it is the set’s tour de force. Tonight shows that Amy Macdonald is making a valiant return and her future is exciting. She concludes the set with Let’s Start a Band – it’s a good job she did.
Photos: Guifre de Peray
For further information about Amy MacDonald and future events visit here.
Watch a live performance of Slow It Down here: