A stunning musical set by one of my favourite musicians – a humbling experience to have watched her grow over the past 18 months
I first heard about Grace when she was featured on BBC Look East in late 2012/early 2013.
Not long after, she invited me and Puffles to a gig she was playing at – which I blogged about here. Fast-forward 18 months and Grace has not only completed her GCSEs & enjoying a well-earned break, but has grown musically and is really blossoming. This was the fourth time I’ve seen Grace play. The first at the Portland Arms, then for Oxjam at The Emperor Pub and also in London where she supported English Sporting Defeat (also on the line up at the Portland Arms gig earlier) at a club on Denmark Street, not far from where I used to live in London.
What’s lovely to hear in her music is how over time she’s taken her earliest songs and experimenting with them. With her new songs, she is now stretching her vocal chords – noticeably hitting some glorious highs (as her cover of ‘Pianoman’ reveals), as well as some moody low alto numbers.
One song, three film versions
Rory from MusicNetEast was filming for the Acoustic Sounds Project, and had a much better camera than me so he’s probably got the best footage. My camcorder and phone were tested to their limits by Grace – an incentive for me to get some much better filming kit. Both my devices struggled with the light. That said, the footage is reasonable and gives a glimpse of just how good Grace is as a musician.
The above track was filmed on my 2011 vintage camcorder that I bought for PufflesCamp 2011 in Brighton. Without an optical zoom (it’s digital only) I’m pleasantly surprised how well it came out given the distance we were from the stage. (i.e. on the back row of the J2 auditorium).
Same track filmed at the same time, but with my camcorder recording as much of Grace’s set as it could before the memory card ran out (schoolboy error), I was able to move down to the front with phone and external microphone. Interestingly, I found the acoustics to be much better in the performance at the front of the gig than at the back with the main cameras. The wind noises you can hear every so often are coming from fans at the side of the stage.
There’s lots more footage of Grace and other performers, including:
Ellie Dixon above. She played a lovely track called ‘Going Places’ – one which made me want to see her play it supported by a big band/orchestra because it has that much potential.
Although the video didn’t come out well – cameraphone at the back of the hall, the audio did.
Hazel Meades above – who going by her Soundcloud page has an incredibly diverse musical portfolio. Although her performances this evening were acoustic guitar/vocal, there’s a rebellious streak that comes through with her stage presence between songs.
I’ll add further things in future posts, but as it’s 2:15am and as I have to be at Rock Road Library for a Transition Cambridge-backed event in the morning (i.e. this) I should call it a night.