Mouse Deer, Alessi’s Ark, Lyla Foy @ The Louisiana, Bristol, 17/03/2014

IMG_8955-2I arrive relatively early for Lyla Foy and special guests at the Louisiana, with the pleasure of watching the Sub Pop signee and her band mates go through sound check before nipping off for a coffee in the interim.

When I return, there are already a fair amount of people in the tiny upstairs area. First to perform is Mouse Deer, a solo artist who opens the night with her beautifully written love songs. She fills the gaps between singing with wit and humour, and wins her small audience over pretty much instantly. Her voice has a sweet, lullaby nature about it; bathed in pinkish light, she really sings from her heart and pours her emotions into her music.

Next up is another female solo artist, Alessi’s Ark. She quietly graces the stage in a royal blue dress, clutching an acoustic guitar before she begins to sing. What a voice! It's light and enchanting, hypnotising to watch as she sings beautiful melodies accompanied with skilled acoustic guitar. By the second song, Alessi's Ark has her audience in a dreamy daze, slowly tapping feet and nodding heads as we listen to her music. Even with the occasional adorable mistake, she continues without missing a beat.

Finally, Lyla Foy and her mop-headed trio of band mates return to the stage. Lyla has changed into a beautiful black shirt-dress and red wedges; hair drawn back with a hairband in her signature festival style. The previous semicircle of attendees surge forward to fill the space in front of them as the band begin to play. Thumping, steady bass and harmonising keyboard and guitar notes are the perfect musical backdrop for Lyla’s smooth, airy voice. The extra instrumentals are a welcome change for the crowd, as they dance steadily to the music. All in all, this is a great night for female singing, with a real selection of styles at a terrific venue.

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