Live Review: Bryde - Omeara, London 01/05/2018

Bryde Polaroid - Photo Credit: Ant Adams

Bryde brought a whole lot of energy and authenticity to London's Omeara last week, with support from the wonderful  Pip Hall.

Omeara is a lovely venue nestled between two Victorian railway arches, it's performance room almost bunker-esque in its bare brickwork,  providing a shabby feel, although holding a weird kind of charm with its high ceiling and sturdy architecture. In short, it's a great space for sound to travel, for stage lighting to warm up the venue,and most importantly, to feel shut off from the world and just absorb the performances. Despite its 350-capacity, there's an intimate feel to the venue, although this could be a credit to the friendliness of the crowd this evening and the personable qualities to both Bryde and Pip Hall.

Bryde on piano backstage before the show - Photo Credit: Ant Adams 

Tonight was a no frills event free from pretension and thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. Pip Hall opened brilliantly, tackling the nerves very well considering this was one of the most reverent and attentive crowds I've been a part of in a long time. Armed with just her guitar, Pip played a selection of acoustic songs including 'Devil You Don't' and 'See Me Around' from her 'James' EP.  'Ill At Ease' and most recent single 'Fire' also made the setlist which are out now via our friends over at My Little Empire Records.

Pip Hall - Omeara - London 01.05.2018

Pip is a bundle of talent and modesty who produces everything on her records herself to such high quality, it feels like she has a band backing her. However, to see her in a stripped back setting highlights how much of an amazing vocalist she is and how great she is at creating affecting guitar melodies at the heart of her sound. Despite her youth, Pip Hall and her sound carry a maturity that will serve her very well as she continues to grow her fanbase.

While we caught Bryde on tour with Banfi last year at the Lexington, it had been two years since I personally saw Sarah perform a solo set live at London's Slaughtered Lamb. Bryde was still in its early stages of conception so I was really looking forward to witnessing how far the project has come and to see Sarah  perform with her band. The band confidently took to the stage, firing straight into 'Wouldn't It Make You Feel Good' with its gloriously dark and angry guitar strums, stopping drums and biting vitriolic. One of my favourite things about Sarah's vocal melodies is how she controlledly transitions between vulnerable and harsh to a deeply intoxicating bluesy, emotive, rock level that stops her listener in their tracks.

And that's what happened tonight. All of our beady eyes were on Bryde and most of the noise of the night came from them alone, the atmosphere too transfixing, energising and cathartic for us to want to intefere. When the band were not full throttle rocking their thunderous mark deep into the venue and impacting hard with the crowd, it was so devastatingly quiet for Sarah's softer solo songs; I can't remember the last time I witnessed a crowd so full of adoration and quiet respect for a bunch of musicians up on a stage.Not even a murmur was heard amongst ourselves in between songs!

Bryde Polaroid - Photo Credit: Ant Adams

Instead, the crowd lapped up Sarah's effortlessly comedic accounts of life on tour and general hilarious musings. Despite the rawness and pain that thrives within a lot of her music, she is a complex and amiable character who comes across as existing in a real life situation comedy. Sarah has the ability to light up a room as easily as she can cast huge great shadows of angsty awesomeness and attitude, which juxtaposes the heart-aching vulnerability she also has to offer. A combination that makes for a very evocative stage presence and engrossing, natural show*woman*ship.

Highlights of the night have to be 'Help Yourself' which got the hugest crowd reaction. People were pogo-ing (as my Dad likes to call it) all over the place, little bit of head bopping here, little bit of head bopping there, and then a big crowd singalong ensued (which may or may not have been requested by Sarah herself), but don't let that take away any of the gravity of the moment as everything about it went down a storm.

'Steady Heart' also made for a pretty spectacular moment as Sarah rode the tender waves of optimism within the track solo; her body rising and falling as she gracefully moved up and down on her toes to ride each beautiful note; a sweet smile on her as she enjoyed the sound of her guitar filling the space, almost forgetting we were all there. The warmth and folky texture to her voice a reminder of her Paper Aeroplane influences.

My only criticism... 'Euphoria' didn't make the setlist! But hey, maybe next time pleeeeaaaase, Sarah?

Bryde - Omeara - London - 01.05.2018

Words of Karla Harris and Photography by Ant Adams
Setlist: 'Wouldn’t That Make You Feel Good' / 'Honey' / 'Handstands' / 'Fast Awake' / 'Wait' / 'Flesh, Blood and Love' /'Desire' / 'Steady Heart' / 'Peace' / 'To Be Loved' / 'Help Yourself' / 'Transparent' / 'To Be Brave' / 'Less'

 Bryde’s excellent 11-track debut album, 'Like An Island' is out now via her own label Seahorse Music.