Image by Gary Chaytor
With the exception of her more familiar foot tappers, Beth Orton always just kind of just passed me by. With open ears though, tonight I’m rewarded as new songs get the tour treatment alongside radio staples and fan favourites.
The energy in the room can be felt as Orton nervously takes to the stage. Shy in the spotlight, comfort for her is found early on with a loyal fan base keen to show their support. An unassuming stage presence but warm sense of humour and light-heartedness puts the evening in her palm from the off.
Opening with songs off her new album Kidsticks, tracks such as Snow, Petals and Moon highlight Orton’s moodier electronic direction. Darkly coloured beats and breathless vocals moulding Joni Mitchell with Little Dragon, her sound is progressive and enigmatic as she adds loops and beats to the guitar-based folk she found fame for.
Turning up the dial, the pulse and pop hook of track 1973 grows on you fast; it’s Orton facing off with disco and finding herself victorious. Happy to embrace the dance side to her music in the past, it’s an infectious up-tempo side to her songwriting that eases its way into your head and keeps the show moving.
Moving back to guitars and more familiar ground on Stolen Car’s heavy shoegaze, before an alternative take on indie compilation classic She Cries Your Name finds itself warmly applauded and performed stripped back to its roots.
Tonight it’s not just Orton’s glittering trousers that shine.