Live Music + Gig Reviews

Liz Horsman @ Players Theatre, London

31 May 1999

She’s signed to the same record label as Blur, she’s gorgeously vampy in her mannerisms and she poses in absolutely the most theatrical fashion imaginable, dahhling, in this, a London theatre. These are merely the first impressions one takes on board of Liz Horsman, East Anglian indie babe, Ipswich supporter and tunesmith; all this even before she embarks on her selection of tracks from her debut album Heavy High. Oh, and she’s nursing a cough tonight too.

The band – for despite the act’s name this is not a one-woman act – launch us headlong into a variety of festival-friendly toons (I Try, Dive’, So Cool, Heavy High) with snappy choruses (I Try, Dive) and interesting stage poses (This Is Blue – it is rumoured that Graham Coxon plays guitar on this track on Heavy High and it happens that this rumour is true). The new single Just Thinking is as auspicious an opener as you will need from an up-and-coming “girlie indie star of the year”, as her promotional flyer insists.

Horsman’s on-stage act is exactly that; acting on stage. With this simple ruse and her between-songs banter she presents herself very well to the assorted talent-spotters, friends and hacks in the audience; so well, in fact, that we see why this act is called Liz Horsman rather than (insert pithy Brit-pop band title here). While the music in places reminds one of what would happen if Garbage and Elastica were ever to have children, Horsman as a person comes across more as Madonna or Sharon Stone; strong-willed, talented and desperate to be taken seriously. There’s no frivolity here, just sassiness in spades.

At face value – and at the deeper, more important music level – Horsman will be a star. Most of the songs are every bit as accessible as you’d hope for. This is a solid, listenable and image-shaping debut album, written clearly by a natural; if she is allowed to develop further then it should be very exciting for all. If you get the chance to see her live (especially without a cough) then don’t hesitate; you will have spent your money wisely.

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Liz Horsman @ Players Theatre, London