Since the release of Titanic Rising by Weyes Blood earlier in the year much of the writing about it has focused on comparing Natalie Mering’s voice to celebrated names from music’s past. Karen Carpenter, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Aimee Mann, Judee Sill and more have all been referenced, and while they might serve as helpful initial entry points into her music, tonight’s show at Electric Brixton showed that they’re actually a little limiting and miss so much about her.
Support comes from Ana Roxanne and she deserves a mention. She delivers a set of soft musical fingerprints, like Julianna Barwick relocated to the Alps. She finishes with a short poetry reading which feels apt, adding to the sense of gentle introspection that her music evokes.
Now being toured around the UK for the second time this year, Weyes Blood’s songs tonight sound even more confidently projected and well-honed. A Lot’s Gonna Change establishes the melancholy mellifluence that runs through her show and Everyday follows soon later, setting vulnerable lyrics against a bounding, bouncing musical backdrop. Her updated take on MOR with added depth and melodrama takes up the rest of the set. Mirror Forever sees her at her wistful best, pleading “baby, take a look in the mirror” with a sincerity matched by few and Wild Time has the world weariness of someone twice her age (as well as some impeccable vocal harmonies).
“You guys ready to hear some more sad songs?” she asks before Picture Me Better and what follows sees her at her most crystalline and most Laurel Canyon. In between her interactions with the crowd are engaging and polished. She gets people to raise hands if they believe the moon landings were filmed in a studio by Stanley Kubrick then wryly comments “that’s more hands than I was expecting London”. Out of her older songs played tonight it is Diary that is the most striking.
She keeps the double hit of Andromeda and Movies until the end. The former is a dream-filled, emotional chasm that elicits much collective swooning inside the venue while the roaming synth arpeggios of Movies sees it firmly enter psychedelic lullaby territory. In the encore she covers Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procol Harem which fits into her soundworld seamlessly. Tonight proved it’s time for comparisons to end and for Weyes Blood to be seen as an individual performer capable of making strong emotional connections and conveying real beauty.