Vic Allen’s ‘Some Place I’d Rather Be’ album launch at Water Rats London 31 January 2023

London’s Water Rats—with a musical heritage including debut London appearances by Bob Dylan, Oasis, and Katy Perry —was the perfect setting for the launch of Vic Allen’s debut album release ‘Some Place I’d Rather Be‘, reviewed on Belles and Gals on 27 January.

Performing with her band, with the exception of a mid-set solo spot on acoustic guitar and piano, Allen was in fine voice, and drew her enthusiastic audience into her songs with stories of their inspiration, sporting the ‘Nashville 1982‘ t-shirt featured on her album artwork.

Opening with two songs from her new album, ‘Enough‘ and ‘Barcelona‘, she explained that her love of travel is a constant source of inspiration for her songwriting, but the audience was soon to find that love and loss featured prominently too. Performing ‘I Can‘, she explained that this was a break-up song, the end coming in a long video call to her now ex in Nashville.

Confetti’, she confided, was the first song she’d written on piano, but choosing to leave piano duty this time to her keyboard player and producer Barnabas Shaw.

Returning to an earlier release, ‘Pictures of Us‘, Allen told us, was written in the aftermath of a painful break-up, where she promptly deleted all trace of the ex, but realised in doing so that they’d never taken those pictures of them together.

Just one cover song featured in her set, a well-received rendition of the Goo Goo Dolls ‘Iris‘, followed by ‘Without You Here‘ from her ‘Missing Piece‘ EP, before Allen’s band left the stage leaving her for a short acoustic set, featuring ‘Ghost Town‘ from her new album, which she explained had been written for a songwriting contest, with the theme of London—she’d decided to take a different tack to the perhaps obvious ‘why I love London‘, choosing instead to write about how walking the city streets at night felt after a break-up.

Change My Mind‘ was introduced as a new song, before Allen, with obvious nervousness, announced she was going to play ‘Different Things‘ live on piano for the very first time—indeed, the first time she’d played piano at a live show—no need for nerves, as she performed creditably well.

Her band returned for the final part of her set, with ‘I Just Wanna Talk‘, ‘Healing‘ and ‘Bittersweet‘, ‘Drive Through‘ and ‘Borrowed Time‘, the latter proving to be another song combining the themes of travel and exs—the tale of a relationship with a songwriter boyfriend with a poetic touch which came to grief in Panama City, Florida.

Her album artwork features Allen with a backdrop of the unmistakeable Joshua trees of the self-named National Park in California, and we learned that the photos, and promotional video for ‘Suitcase’, were the reward for perseverance and a 5 am start for her team including her photographer brother, having missed sunset the night before, and despite the inevitable jet lag from arrival only the day before.

Announced as ‘her favourite song of all time‘ Allen saved ‘Suitcase‘ for a well-deserved encore, explaining that the song summed her up succinctly.

A great show, which cemented Allen’s reputation as a rising star, and very fine songwriter, in the realm of homegrown country artists.

Capable support came from Izzie Naylor, performing her original songs solo with electric guitar, her Carrie Fisher quote “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die” a reminder to herself to let it go–or maybe just put the sentiment in a song!

Review written by David Jarman (

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