It's great to get out and experience some live music again after weeks of film viewing, and last night's She Makes War album launch was a spectacular return. It involved a journey down to Herne Hill, not my neck of the woods, but was well worth it. The venue, Half Moon, was surprisingly roomy, the sound crystal clear and the performance was something special.
Having released her second album, Little Battles, on Monday, She Makes War had gathered some comrades in arms to perform as her backing band, The Olympians, and what an array of musicians! Two violinists, a harpist, two backing vocalists, two guitarists, a keyboardist and a drummer came and went in a range of combinations, making for a very busy stage indeed. And at the centre of it, Laura Kidd aka She Makes War, relieved of her usual multi-tasking duties to play bass, a bit of ukulele and, occasionally, vocals only. She was visibly enjoying the spectacle, grinning broadly, high-fiving a bandmate and generally drinking in the building vibe.
Playing tracks from debut Disarm as well as the newbie, The Olympians applied themselves in grand style. I particularly liked the songs featuring the dual violins, or duelling fiddles, as I called them. There was something magical about the way the two women flanked Kidd as she sang, almost like stringed guardian angels. If I won the lottery (not that I play, mind), I would definitely hire two violinists to accompany me for the day, as I went about my business.
Acting as bookends were my favourite tracks from the two albums, opener "Shields and Daggers" and closer "Scared to Capsize", which ended up in a surprising and delightful singalong, as Kidd stalked the stage with her megaphone and then did a turn through the audience, before returning to the stage to take her bow.