Toria Wooff / Chloe Lawrence – The Met, Bury – 8th April 2022
The second in the flesh (as opposed to streamed) ’emerging showcase’ which The Met has set up as a monthly event for local musicians. A much more sedate affair this one following on from last month’s Urban Theory event.
Walking into the darkness of The Met’s Box space a couple of songs into Chloe Lawrence’s set, there’s a sense of deja vu. Just like last Friday when The Trials Of Cato were in town, there’s Chloe singing about not giving a f**k about swearing whilst the same audience member is sat in the same place to one side of the stage. Perhaps a season ticket holder. Fortunately, Chloe is wearing smart pinstripe pants this week which shakes us out of the reverie. As recently seen, her songs have a fragile, old your breath quality and earn ripples of applause and appreciation and she’s bold enough to share a new song in the set alongside the slightly more, yet still politely delivered, acidic observations.
It’s just over a year since we marked Toria on our pages as ‘one to watch in ’21’. A period during which we’ve had a lovely version of Rocket Man and the intriguing James Edward and finally the chance to catch her playing live. Accompanied by acoustic guitar rather than band, the songs are stripped right back so the Americana/folk rock/retro vibe is slightly filtered down. On the other hand, it gives the chance for Toria to showcase her quality first songwriting although occasionally you can spot where prospective arrangements might go.
As well as the familiar James Edward plus For Liam from the Badlands EP and a cover of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon thrown in for good measure (“Hope you know it – if you don’t, get out!!“) the setlist notes several new numbers. She mentions a new EP and the likes of Song For A and Author Song are listed, while Sweet William ends abruptly on the ominous line of “no longer will those church bells ring you home.“
Talk of musician lockdown chat leads to her revealing her lockdown project with course on meteorology which leads into the song Doldrums as the final piece of the set has shades of Donovan – Catch The Wind maybe – with the tumble of bass notes offset by some ringing high notes that might (for some) conjure up visions of Bron-Yr-Aur which we hope Toria (with her four symbols tattoo) would appreciate.
Proof in the pudding that our one to watch is most definitely worth watching. The next thing to watch is this space as we can look forward to more encounters with Toria Wooff.