Live review: Rosie Lowe at Headrow House

Sometimes you turn up a small venue like the intimate upstairs space in hipster mecca Headrow House and leave thinking that’s the last time you’ll see the headline act this up close and personal.

Rosie Lowe is one of those performers out plugging her debut album Control, but she has the full package – a fine voice, strong image and – most importantly – great tunes.

Lowe was heavily influenced by her jazz loving dad bringing a lot of ideas from that genre with more than a touch of Sade in her look and sound, plus a hefty dollop of Massive Attack thrown in to spice things up.

All too often new artists forget to hire decent musicians so their vision is sold short, but not so here as Lowe’s band are really on it as she triggers vocals effects looping back on herself over subtle beats to great effect as she has such a strong voice.

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Run Run Run sets the tone as the band laid down the groove while Lowe snakes her pin-sharp voice round it, and interestingly the decent sized crowd are grooving along early doors. Her first single That Thing is a really mature piece of work, and it is clear Lowe had really thought about her sound from day one.

Even better was the title track from her debut where the jazz influences really shine through and her vocals went up a level. Lowe’s words are intensely personal and  her fans really got their dancing shoes on for How’d You Like it with the bittersweet refrain: ‘Do you like the way it makes me feel/do you like the way it make you feel’. Ouch.

But it’s not all beats as the highlight of the set was the downbeat ballad Nicole that Lowe wrote for her best mate who was going out with an idiot and no-one felt they could say anything. So Lowe simply sent her this song in in a desperate attempt to wake her up, and the good news it worked.

Lowe is the sort of commercially minded act who could make a quick breakthrough on Later with Jools Holland, but In the meantime this personable young artist is doing it the old fashioned way playing small venues to build up a fan base who clearly have fallen under her spell.

Control is out now on Polydor Group.

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