Live Review: Lail Arad – Think Tank Underground, Newcastle

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Unfortunately, on this evening, I missed the first support of the night, Diji Solanke, and hearing people pass by with murmurs of how great he was, did not help! However, catching Martha Hill definitely made up for my disappointment. Why have I never heard about this captivating artist before? (She is a member of Holy Mole and The Crackers). Her personality beamed as soon as she stepped on stage and when her music came, we were won over.

Opening with the track Winter, which include the lines, “I put the heating on for the first time this year,” Lail Arad, adorned with a scarf around her neck, definitely warmed the crowd up with her soothing bluesy vocals. What a way to wind down a Sunday night and go into a new week.

Lail’s conversation with the crowd was very natural and felt like we were among friends, sharing a few drinks with fine music as she says we are ‘lovely in Newcastle’. Before launching into 1934 – a song dedicated for the now late, great Leonard Cohen, someone asks her if he has heard it yet. She hopes so and with the nods from the audience we hope he gets to hear it too. With the news we now know, one can only hope that this was true.

It’s not an evening for sadness though and Milo gets Newcastle off their feet and dancing in this basement, which is the tone for the rest of the night. And although it is a Sunday night Lail brought the Friday feeling with a cover of The Cure’s hit Friday, I’m In Love, which keeps the crowd on their feet as well as the chance to have a sing-along, before saying good night to the evening with the title track from her album, The Onion.

To describe witnessing Lail Arad live and hearing her music come to life, I must quote a line in this song back to her, “will you teach me the words, stay by my side…” as I believe her music will stay by many people’s sides for a long time to come.

Words & Image by Victoria Ling