Thea Gilmore is one of those rare talents who dedicated everything to her craft and stayed true to her own voice, even though it may have meant doing without the pop super-stardom her talent deserves. That’s not saying that she hasn’t had her fair share of success, a career spanning 17 years with a catalogue of 15 studio albums is nothing to be sniffed at.
Coinciding with the release of her new album Ghosts and Graffiti (a mixture of brand new material and re-recorded favourites with some guest appearances) earlier this month, Thea decided to do a few intimate gigs at hand-picked venues which have always been favourites of hers. One such venue was Edinburgh’s Pleasence Theatre, a quaint space which is swimming in character, suiting Thea’s style perfectly.
Her set list involved classics such as Love Came Looking for Me, and the small size of the Pleasence made for an intimate yet comfortable atmosphere as Thea wowed the crowd. Along with her leather-jacketed guitarist husband Nigel Stonier, she was accompanied by keyboard, violinist and a double bassist.
Thea’s set found the perfect middle ground between acoustic and orchestral. The mainly middle-aged crowd were fairly quite, which was used as comic fodder by both Thea and Stonier. At first I wasn’t sure if the audience were enjoying the show, however it soon became abundantly clear with each rapturous round of applause accompanying each song they were far from not being entertained.
Thea had them quietly captivated in the palm of her hand. Overall, she gave a superior performance of some of her best loved works, both flawless and effortlessly, showing exactly why she is one of the most respected and talented songwriters and performers on the alternative music scene today. Set in a venue which perfectly complimented her personal and intimate style, it was a gig I would happily repeat in future.
Note: Special plaudits must be given to Thea’s support act Jo Rose. A fresh face who has joined her on the most recent tour, he is set to make big waves in the future. With a sound akin to early Damien Rice fused with Ryan Adams, Jo played a fantastic 30 minute solo set of powerful and soulful songs accompanied only by a guitar, and his girlfriend on backing vocals for the finale. Rarely do you find such raw talent ready to explode onto the scene, but one which I believe is ready to step out into the spotlight on his own.
* Live performance photos are archive and not from the night.