Last Thursday evening, Belles and Gals hosted their first live gig in London (second ever!) at one of the most intimate venues in the city, the Green Note. There’s really nothing better than being up and close to the stage, sat around tables chatting to new and old friends, with world-class sound systems immersing the room in music. Of course, that’s not quite true – at least not in this case – the best bit is of course the live acts, and our headliner of the night was the wonderful Hannah Rose Platt.
With Kaity Rae having already set the room on fire, the audience was excited and ready to go when Hannah entered the stage. Hannah had quite the treat in store for us as she would be sharing new music from her upcoming second album due to be released in October. However like any seasoned performer, Hannah knows how to get her audience on board and opened up with a bit of fan-favourite, ‘Dancer’. ‘Dancer’ is an ode to Hannah’s favourite café in Crystal Palace and to the dreams and perseverance of a waitress. It showcased the purity and tone of Hannah’s vocals.
The second song was one of three from the new album co-written with her step-dad – if Mary J. Blige didn’t already have a track called Family Affair perhaps that would have been an apt title for the album! I will try not to give too much away when it comes to these new songs as you’ll want to discover them for yourself but this one, ‘Josephine’, was a very clever song based on the memory of Josephine Baker and it seemed particularly apt during this time we live in where freedoms we have taken for granted are under fire.
With a quick pop back to Hannah’s first, critically acclaimed album to enjoy ‘Little Screws’, we then moved on to a beautiful song that Hannah described as her first and only break-up song called ‘Checkmate’. After that I must admit that most of our audience let Hannah down a little bit as only a few of us were able to put our hands up when Hannah asked who had seen Brooklyn – the movie the next song was based on: “From County Cork to Brooklyn, New York”. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hannah’s performance inspired a few people to go home and watch it!
The next song was my personal highlight of the night. I’d already heard Hannah perform this song at Nashville meets London last summer and I remember tweeting about how excellent it was. Loosely based on a ghost story Hannah wrote at age 10, it’s called ‘Chanel and Cigarettes’, and it’s haunting, mesmerising and what I would call the best kind of country.
After another relationship song – it’s almost a shame Hannah writes so few of these as she does it with killer skill – Hannah invited Sid Griffin to the stage, much to the audience’s delight. Their first duet came with extraordinarily good timing as it is spoke of a destructive hurricane just as we were sat there hiding from Doris! This one was called Audrey however and the song was another written with her step-dad (‘When Audrey Came to Call’). Their second duet was a cover of Gram Parson’s ‘The Angels Rejoiced Last Night’ and it was truly a pleasure to hear their take on such a legendary song. Thomas Collison, multi-instrumentalist and producer of Hannah’s next album, also took the stage with Hannah to help perform a new song ‘Your Way’.
As we come to the close of the set, we also come to the big announcement that we are still celebrating here at Belles and Gals. Hannah and our founder, Nick, have agreed a new management deal and what better name for Nick’s new firm than Hannah’s key and last song of the set, 1954. So you’ll be sure to hear much more about Hannah from us! (Also if you haven’t heard 1954 you must absolutely go do so – it’s a storytelling at its absolute finest).
Starting out as Hannah started – owning the show as a true performer – she didn’t rob us of an encore and performed a song she had also performed at Bob Harris’ Under The Apple Tree sessions, ‘Hello Central, Give Me Heaven’. An excellent end to an excellent evening.
Review written by Nathalie Larsen
Images courtesy of Nathalie Larsen and Twitter user @redrospective