Gig Review: Michele Stodart at McHugh’s Basement (20th November)

BY ANNA CAFOLLA

As one can imagine, going it on your own is a scary thing, especially for someone like Michele Stodart. Stodart has flown from The Magic Number’s nest to fly solo, putting down her bass guitar and leaving her fellow band member and brother Romeo to tour her new album Wide-Eyed Crossing.

In the intimate setting of McHugh’s Basement, Michele commanded the crowd with an eclectic use of instruments, breathy vocals and emotive lyrics. Elements of her songs are reminiscent of Joni Mitchell and Laura Marling, particularly with “When it’s Over” and “O Heart of Mine”.  Stodart though had a clear country twang, and the variety of sound she created with her instruments ensured there was a real affection to her tales of adventure and unrequited love.

It was uplifting to see Michele’s bravery in her experimentation; the likes of “In Between” and “List of Don’ts”, with the help of traditional violin, xylophone and rocky riffs, brought a punchiness and attitude to her performance – one that certainly helped convince the audience of her credibility as a solo artist. The ethereal harmonies of “Ain’t No Woman” and “My Baby My Sweet” hushed the small basement of McHugh’s, and kept an eerie hold over everyone there.

Stodart gave a soft-spoken, humble commentary to each of her songs.  She continually praised her band, and interacted openly with the small crowd. McHugh’s was the perfect place for the gig, and, though she most definitely did not pull in the numbers she deserved, the relatively small crowd provided the performance the intimacy it needed.

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