Monday, 12 March 2012

We Are The Sparks That Never Fade

(The title is a reference to a Gabrielle Aplin song, just so I can now be considered so super cheesy.)

This is Gabrielle Aplin.

She's 19 and she's a self taught guitar playing singer songwriter from the Bath/Bristol area. She is very much a player of acoustic music. I was gutted last year when I missed her gig at Moles, so when tickets became available for her newest stint of shows I decided to buy one for the Bristol date at Thelka. While dragging along my housemate for company, despite her not really knowing anything about her.

I first discovered her a couple of years ago (maybe two?) through iTunes suggestions, which usually I'm a bit wary of as sometimes it can lead you onto the sort of music you wouldn't want to listen to in about 100 years. But she was a proper little gem hidden away amongst all the other millions of young people trying to make it big. At this time she had just recently released an EP, the Never Fade EP and had released one other EP a few years prior, the Acoustic EP. I liked what I heard, a lot, so I purchased both and decided to keep tabs on her. Then last year she announced her third EP to be released on January 9th 2012, so I preordered it and waited for months. Then eventually it was released and it was incredible, 5 brilliant tracks for a fair and modest price. It reaffirmed my love for Miss Gabrielle Aplin and I knew that she had to make it big. 

Since I first found her EPs her career has had an incredible push, with many high profile supporting slots of bigger artists (Goyte, Matt Cardle, Charlie Simpson), her music featuring on famous TV shows and some TV appearances. She is in my eyes a bit of a refreshing personality in the music scene, as she genuinely works hard, tours extensively and even spends time responding to the influx of facebook/formspring/social media messages she receives on a constant basis (updated: she totally responded to my wall post haha, absolute babe!). Her lyrics are also incredible, they carry with them a certain sense of maturity that seems beyond that of someone so young, and they are instilled with a personal realness that brings them to life. It looks like things will only get better for her and she deserves every second of this success, and then some.

So anyway, enough background, I guess I should start talking about the gig itself. It was in Thekla in Bristol, which is on a boat, which turned into a night club later on. It was a short gig overall, her set being about 9 songs and roughly 50 minutes, but with a fairly unknown singer songwriter I didn't expect it to be long. The supporting act were two guys called Hudson Taylor, they were energetic and confident and put on quite a show. I'm definitely planning to check out them in the future, and so should anyone reading this. They were kind of folky, kind of acousticy. Very much like Gabrielle herself.

Gabrielle then came on, she was quite quiet at first. Reserved. But very humble, friendly and pleasant. She mastered each song with her guitar or piano and her sublime voice. She performed two songs from her second EP (Never Fade, Panic Cord), four songs from her newest EP (Home which she performed with Hudson Taylor, Keep Pushing Me, Out On My Own, Let Me In), a new song (Please Don't Say You Love Me) and two covers (an absolutely stunning rendition of Lana Del Rey's Video Games and a duet of It Ain't Me, Babe by Bob Dylan with the lead singer of Hudson Taylor).  So overall a good set, although a personal favourite of mine and the only song she didn't perform from her new EP (Romeo Must Die) was sadly left out. But a small, fairly insignificant, qualm to be honest. At the end she stuck around to sell physical copies of her latest EP (as it was previously only available on iTunes), sign autographs, take photos or just have general chit chat with people. I bought a copy of the EP and, rather nervously, asked her to sign it. She responded with a smile and said 'only if you let me touch your hair' and then she said 'that's so awesome'. But me, being rather nervous and dorky, started to ramble on stupidly about how good I though the show was and how brilliant I think she is. At least she could tell I was a fan I guess. The lead singer of Hudson Taylor and I also had a conversation about my hair, and he let me touch his quiff in return.

Overall, it was a brilliant gig. I've totally got to see her again sometime and I hope she achieves the phenomenal success she deserves.

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