There must be something in the water in Sheffield that produces artists who manage to write such terrific lyrics – vignettes of life put to amazing melodies. From the Human League through Pulp and onto the Arctic Monkeys, it’s something that the steel city excels in. The Long Blondes were another such act and when they were forced to break up in 2008 due to the illness of their guitarist Dorian Cox, it only seemed like a matter of time before lead singer Kate Jackson started a solo career.
After a couple of false starts, her debut album finally arrived earlier this year. Produced by former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, British Home Movies was well received by the critics. Touring to support the LP brings Kate to The Cookie in Leicester, with her new backing band The Wrong Moves in tow.
They opened the set with album closer Velvet Sofa From No 26 before seguing straight into Metropolis. Live, the band are a lot rawer that on record. Personally, I prefer the less polished sound as I find it more exciting than the album, which I found a tad over-produced.
Homeward Bound, probably the oldest song here as a version of it was posted onto MySpace (ask your grandparents) back in 2010. Live it precedes Kate telling us that the album is a love letter to the romanticism of the British open roads. Although she goes on to say that this has bitten her as the band got stuck on the A14 on the way to Leicester.
Lie To Me is described as a song about cheating, a theme that has run through the songs since The Long Blondes days, and it could easily be a companion piece to You Could Have Both. 16 Years, a song about Kate’s best friend, is delivered in that Jarvis Cocker spoken/singing style.
As well as playing most of the new album, they also play a couple of new tracks – The Westerlies and Future City. The latter of which Jackson introduces by telling the audience that Dorian Cox didn’t ever want The Long Blondes to mention when they were playing new songs, he felt that they should just seamlessly fit in with the rest of the set. Future City sounds especially good, harking back a little to The Modern Lovers.
Album opener The End Of Reason closes an amazing set. Even in such a small venue, Kate Jackson stands out as a proper rock star – she owned the stage, in fact she owned the entire room. The Wrong Moves are a wonderfully tight backing band. With the debut album finally out and the tour underway, hopefully they can keep this momentum going and it won’t be another 8 years until we hear from Kate again.