28 January 2020 (gig)
30 January 2020
Austin Lucas’s surprise set at Night Tales started an evening of Americana Fest showcases. Using a borrowed guitar, his set was filled with strong personal songwriting through songs like ‘Run Around’ and ‘Alone in Memphis’. It was already an intimate experience before he called the audience closer for his last song so he could perform without a microphone.
Izzie Walsh swayed through her set full of vibes reminiscent of a downtempo Kacey Musgraves. With her four-piece band, her cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ was an unusual experience, since Night Tales is in a tunnel underneath the London Overground. Although, as she noted, “Ironically there were no trains coming at that point”. Performing ‘Alone’ solo, Izzie showed to the end that she is one to watch in the future.
MOTH Club is Canada House for the showcases. Irish Mythen’s set drew heavily on her Juno nominated album ‘Little Bones’. Her passionate social stance came across through her guitar and the lyrics in tracks like ‘Let Them In’ and ‘Be Still. Dance’. The audience was respectful throughout as she paid tribute to her aunt Maria before finishing with an acapella performance that showcased the power of her voice.
Dennis Ellsworth and his four-piece band made enjoyable scuzzy songwriter rock which paid tribute to Teenage Fanclub. There was also a duet on ‘Perfect Storm’ with British Colombia’s Sarah Jane Scouten before the set came to a close with ‘Coke Machine Glow’.
At Oslo, Jamie Freeman stepped in to replace an ill Joshua Burnside. The lack of preparation had no impact on a set featuring tracks like ‘Mariner’ and ‘The Fire’, a track about the Grenfell disaster which is nominated for UK Song of the Year at this year’s Americana Awards. Finishing with ‘Rum & Smoke’, a teetotallers attempt at a drinking song, Jamie engaged the audience to sing along with the refrain “My dad did all my drinking for me”.
Ferris & Sylvester’s first show of the decade followed on from their great performances in the 2010s. The duo showed their intimacy sharing a microphone on ‘Flying Visit’, whilst also proved their epic rock credentials in a set which packed much into five songs. Based in Streatham, Issy Ferris said “Hackney feels like a foreign country” between playing anthemic tracks like ‘Sickness’ and ‘This Is How My Voice Sounds’.
Kerri Watt closed out Paper Dress Vintage in a reflective mood and a glam-rock era outfit. She spoke about how a song about her mother was given new meaning after finding old diaries. She joked that ‘Hellfire’ was overlooked as the Bond theme, but tracks like ‘Chasing Aeroplanes’ and ‘Kissing Fools’ suggested there’s still a bright future in her contemplation of the past.