Live Review: Emily Breeze -The Barrel House, Totnes 13.10.2023

In early 2023 Emily Breeze released her latest album ‘Rapture’ to critical acclaim and has been hoping to be an overnight success – all be it, one twenty years in the making.

Support slots for James and Sleaford Mods have brought her to the attention of a disparate clan of music lovers a widely varied audience further exacerbated by her appearance on the Radio 4 show Loose Ends. On Friday 13th October she and her band played live at The Barrel House Ballroom in sleepy Totnes.

The sparkling mirrorball lights of The Barrel House is the perfect setting to watch the self proclaimed ‘gothic disco’ diva.
But honestly apart from her hair there is not much gothic or dark about Emily Breeze though, there’s just honesty, realism and a truly British sense of sarcastic self awareness. If she’s a creature of the night, she’s more ‘Hollyoaks Later’ than ‘American Horror Story’.
Aurally she’s a cross between the pseudo disco pop of Blondie and the gritty authenticity of Patti Smith with her vocal veering into the realm of an alto Tim Booth. Based around a well balanced synth /guitar sound the songs rely on fantastic storytelling lyrics about getting a job – “your shirt and tie looked like fancy dress
You were so feral, we couldn’t believe you’d fooled them” or tragic American models as in Anna Nicole. The vocals, half spoken, half sung, tell stories like a medieval bard dressed in knock off Prada. For all the British self depreciation there is a vein of americana that runs through the music and you sense the band would be equally at home in a working men’s club or a Dallas dive bar.

The night maintains a fresh energy throughout and the new songs showcased went down as well as the old. She connects superbly with the crowd, essential for a venue where you walk through them to hit the stage. You sense a genuine thankfulness and humility that she’s been given the opportunity to do this once more.
Hopefully her next album will break through and maybe someone will finally see her and make her a star. Emily Breeze isn’t waiting though, modestly saying that the new songs were well received because “drunk people like upbeat songs”. It seemed to me that everyone, inebriate or otherwise, liked the whole night. Beautiful, sharp and playfully twisted, Emily Breeze is a black satin glove wrapped in pink razor wire.

Catch her live if you can, it’s much better to experience her smiling at you from a stage rather than scowling at you from behind her fringe at the checkout in Aldi.

Tickets for March 2024 tour available here..

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