After their second album got mixed reviews Smoke Fairies had a crisis of confidence questioning whether they should go on but this confident show made you glad they did.
One of the reasons the critics turned on them was they lurched from a faintly twee folk duo to a full blown rock band almost overnight. I’d enjoyed them at this venue on their first tour, and was totally thrown the second time I saw them as they really rocked out – mainly because it seemed so inauthentic.
They do seem to have found their stride on their self-titled third record which uses lots more electronics, which sadly weren’t that much in evidence here, but the raw honesty of the lyrics were. Jesssica Davies and Katherine Blamire marched onto the stage in matching silver lame dresses, and it seemed coming through their wobble has thrown of the shackles as they ripped into Hotel Room with some particularly strong vocals from Blamire.
In an interview with this site Davies suggested there was more emphasis on each of them taking more solo vocals, but again not much of that in evidence. Most of the songs still rely on what is admittedly strong harmonising, which you would expect as the two women have been making music together since they were teenagers.
Too many of the songs drifted by until an epic Blood Speaks pulled the set round thanks to Davies’ powerful vocal as the well drilled band locked in around her. An impromptu, stripped down Dragon from their first album suggested a few more mellow moments might be in order as they showcase the subtly of their voices free of rock outs.
Plenty of dad dancing suggested the Fairies have developed a loyal older audience, so maybe a little more interaction with the fans might be in order, but this was an often compelling performance that vindicated their decision to keep plugging away.