LIVE: Laura Gibson @ Queen Elizabeth Hall, 13.11.18

Having first fallen in love with Laura Gibson’s delicate, soaring vocals upon hearing 2016’s Empire Builder, it was an honour to be able to catch her live at one of my favourite London spaces last Tuesday.

Upon commencing her set at Queen Elizabeth Hall, a humble Gibson takes to the stage along with a trio of musicians, thanking us all for being there and revealing that when she creates music, she’s at her “most alone” but now – sharing her creations with us – she’s at her “most connected”. Immediately oozing her trademark spellbinding charm, and looping together layers of twinkling musicality, she treats our ears to a selection of offerings, from both her new album Goners and 2016’s aforementioned collection. From the majestic, folk-strewn melodies of the likes of ‘Slow Joke Grin’ and the sparkling splendour of ‘I Carry Water’ to the gentle, stirring emotion of ‘Damn Sure’, each poignant track tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways.

Despite issues with a broken cable , Gibson remains calm, maintaining her charming rapport and endearing humour with the crowd throughout – “Well, the cable has been around the world with me, I guess London will be its final resting place”. And, when recalling the difficulties of touring Goners in certain European countries where the word doesn’t quite translate, her gentle wit continues to shine through.

With the majority of the set seeing Gibson at the helm of the keys, with her new material having generally more of an eclectic, musically varied sound that older offerings, she reveals that “… it’s been good to be free from the guitar strap”, before placing it over her head once more and breaking into the gritty whirring hooks of ‘Tenderness’. Succeeding in casting her spell over the crowd, Gibson’s sweeping vocals and heartfelt emotion is showcased at its more raw and spine-tinglingly powerful in (personal favourite) ‘Marjory’; a beautifully intimate offering complete with heady, soul-stirring strings courtesy of Kyleen King.

Following the closing two tracks from Goners, ‘Thomas’ and ‘I Don’t Want Your Voice To Move Me’, Gibson draws the set to a close with the glistening, uptempo sounds of Empire Builder’s ‘Not Harmless’. And all at once it becomes crystal clear that she is perfectly suited to playing in a venue of such prestige; the exquisite cinematic splendour of each and every offering matching its subtle grandeur completely.

Although I unfortunately had to make my way home before Dan Mangan took to the stage (and apparently played some wonderful songs with Laura too), what I did see of Gibson I am extremely grateful for. In a world that’s so swamped in darkness and fear at the moment, I couldn’t help but be filled with a certain sense of hope witnessing her heartfelt, exquisite grace and dreamy allure.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Track Of The Day: Laura Gibson – ‘Domestication’

Following beautiful tracks such as ‘Empire Builder’ and ‘Damn Sure’, acclaimed artist Laura Gibson is now ready to release her new album Goners later this month. In the meantime she has shared a poignant new single, ‘Domestication’.

Questioning the things we are presumed to desire from womanhood, ‘Domestication’ oozes a delicate emotion as folk-strewn twinkling melodies flow alongside Gibson’s raw, soaring vocals. With the addition of sweeping strings, it’s filled with a rich musicality and subtle passion, creating a sparkling, cinematic splendour that is truly spellbinding.

Of the track, Gibson explains:

“… at times, though I know better, I’ll catch myself thinking in terms of what I should desire of womanhood instead of what I actually desire. I catch myself feeling I am failing at something, at some ideal I was never actually aiming for. I finished these lyrics a year ago. It’s strange to release the song now, when it feels so much is coming to a head. So much has cracked open for women, in the year since writing ‘Domestication.’ So much remains the same… Though I’d meant ‘domestication’ in the animal sense, when it came time to make the video, I liked the idea of using the term in the homemaking sense. I’d been obsessed with this photo I’d found of the pastel women of the FLDS cult, and wanted to build a world and a story around the aesthetic, something like the speculative societies of Margaret Atwood or Ursula Le Guin. At the end of the story, I wanted the women to act like wolves.”

Watch the eerily poignant new video (co-directed by Gibson and Alicia Rose) for ‘Domestication’ here:

Goners, the upcoming album from Laura Gibson, is out 26th October via City Slang.

Mari Lane
@marimindles