Sharon Van Etten
I paid a rare visit to the Glee Club in Cardiff Bay, finally catching up with New York singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten – a show which was rescheduled from September, when she chose to appear on Jools Holland’s “Later” instead (although he’s forgiven to a degree, because, in the interim, I finally read his excellent autobiography “Barefaced Lies and Boogie Woogie Boasts”). First on was Georgia Ruth, the much-lauded singer-harpist from Aberystwyth, who played a hauntingly beautiful five song set. The second support act was West-Country four-piece outfit This Is The Kit – banjo-led folk, lent a dark, hypnotic tone by some rolling bass and fuzz guitar; very likeable.
The headline set got off to a stumbling start due to sound problems (although, over the evening, the acoustics were excellent, perhaps since the Glee is a comedy club, so one would expect them to prioritise vocal clarity), but Sharon Van Etten and her band (Doug, Heather, and on the drums, Zeke), ploughed on with great good humour. Seamlessly drifting between plaintive indie-guitar folk and Velvet Underground-influenced drone rock, Van Etten was charm personified, dedicating one song to a family friend in the audience, and admitting that watching people singing along to her lyrics made her want to cry. My personal favourite, “One Day”, wasn’t on the set-list, but even the unfamiliar tunes made an immediate impression, and “Serpents” especially came alive.
Frankly, a magical night.