Jesca Hoop swung into town on a rearranged date at the end of a long tour . The Edinburgh and Gateshead shows rearranged due to illness and full credit for the swift new dates instead of kicking them into the distance of 2023. An attentive and engaged audience enjoyed a fair mix of songs showcasing the new album Order of Romance and some favourites from a deep back catalog.
Jesca Hoop certainly has earned comparison with some of the big names of alt folk. Surely an equal of Kate Rusby and Laura Marling and an ability to twist songs to step out of the comfort box that perhaps others see as their way to connect to audiences. Sometimes the performance soared on the night and sometimes it dissolved with the intensity of the snow thaw seen in Edinburgh earlier in the day.
Jesca was supported brilliantly by Kirana Peyton on bodrhan and Chloe Foy on bass and keyboards. Fantastic to hear a bodrhan being played with subtlety and befitting the mood – less was definitely more. The trio, bedecked in kaftans which added to the ambient mood featured some scintillating three part harmonies including an accapella number . Often a challenge in a venue in the noisy heartland of Edinburgh clubland.
The sensitivity of the delivery did not distract from the serious topics of the songs and with Jesca’s lyrics on ghosting , love lost and the ants’ spiral of death – a disturbing and perceptive metaphor of our destructive habits. Nice bits of back and forth with the audience between songs also although I would happily considered the communist habits of ants for longer . Maybe next time.
In addition to bass and keyboard duties , Chloe Foy’s support set of songs of grief and love were a taste of what was to come later. Again , a talent blessed with excellent song writing and an album worth digging into over the next few weeks.
This show , and the Gateshead night, completed a long tour . Completion coinciding with thoughts turning to the forthcoming holiday season . Although none of the material would be considered particularly festive , the night seemed to engender the most positive aspects of the season with community , friendship and celebration in the most tasteful way . Something to cling to in as we left with serenity as another night of festive clubbing was kicking off in Edinburgh’s Cowgate- thanks Jesca!