Last week saw Laurel take over The Wedgewood Rooms as part of her Dogviolet tour. The idea that this is a bit of a homecoming for Laurel could be slightly disputed. She grew up in Fareham so the national press tends to credit her with being from Southampton. She first came to my attention while I was judging the Road To Blissfields competition at The Edge of the Wedge in 2012 so as far as I am concerned this is her homecoming.
I arrived in time to catch the last few tracks of the first support act, Tom Millichamp. I was kicking myself for missing the whole set but as Tom hails from Southampton, I’m sure I will get the opportunity to catch him again in the near future.
Robin from Breaking More Waves had previously tipped me off that I was in for a real treat with the second support act, Another Sky, and he wasn’t wrong. If I were to try and compare Another Sky then I can definitely hear Radiohead‘s influences in their sound, while frontwoman Catrin Vincent‘s vocals had maturity beyond her years, reminding me of Cat Power and PJ Harvey.
This band have all of the ingredients to go onto big things. The band were a nightmare to photograph, the backlit stage meant that the best I would be able to manage would be silhouettes of them and their instruments.
Bang on time Laurel entered the stage with her band. They began the set with the second track from Dogviolet, ‘All Star‘ and her 2016 single, ‘San Francisco.’ Laurel then greeted the crowd and introduced her band, Sam, Polly and Mark. Sam explained that this was the first time he’d managed to get on stage and perform at the Wedgewood Rooms after being in the audience to see many of his friends performing at the venue.
After performing ‘Lovesick‘ and ‘Hold Tight‘ the band left the stage while Laurel returned to her singer-songwriter roots and performed two solo tracks, ‘Sun King‘ and ‘Empty Kisses.’ As the set was drawing to a close Laurel played ‘South Coast‘ which is dedicated to the audience. The song describes her desire to settle back on the south coast with her soul mate.
A broken guitar string led to a short delay and a bit of teasing from Laurel’s mum who was in the crowd. Laurel finished the set with one of her older tracks, ‘Blue Blood‘ and the band were given a standing ovation as they left the stage for the final time.
After an awesome roast dinner earlier in the afternoon I was ready to spend the evening at home in front of Netflix, but I was glad that I got off my arse because it was a really enjoyable evening. After all these years, Laurel still has the ability to write songs that are easily relatable and are clearly written from the heart and based on her first-hand experiences.
Just hours before the show Laurel announced that she would be performing on the next episode of Later… with Jools Holland. If you’re quick then you can still catch it on the iPlayer. If you weren’t fortunate enough to be at the Wedgewood Rooms then I would advise you make time to check her out.