She Makes War @ Thekla, Bristol, 26/03/2016

She Makes WarThe atmosphere that exudes from Thekla this evening is maybe to be expected from a Saturday night on a boat that reliably puts on the best parties in town. But it’s not the mid-weight drink prices nor the playlist that currently omits from the DJ booth that has everyone hot under the collar. It’s the long awaited and arguably overdue launch party of She Makes War’s Direction of Travel; an album that was crowdfunded last year with a promised general release soon after. Despite this, Direction of Travel has just this month seen its dream come true, thanks to record label The state51 Conspiracy.

It’s the first time singer songwriter Laura Kidd has signed to a label under the pseudonym, but it’s not her first rodeo. With two self-released albums and a shining online reputation under her belt, hordes of devoted fans have already praised Direction of Travel from the rafters. According to Facebook, some have even gone so far as to buy tickets to tonight’s event despite knowing for sure they can’t attend the show. Regardless, it looks like capacity has been met.

Kidd has developed a dedicated fan base across the continent through copious and sometimes laborious-sounding tours, providing the album with its subject matter and themes of empowerment and self control. What she doesn’t touch on in her work, is the diversity of the crowds she can draw. All manner of people arrive at Thekla super early to support Kidd: not just in terms of age, but interest. We speak to several people who’re long term fans, while others seem lackadaisical about their presence on the boat – as though they’ve simply turned up by accident.

Audience members have one thing in common: when Kidd begins to play, everyone pays attention to her (bar first support Cousin Kula, who spend the entirety of her set yapping at the bar).

Joined by a full band including a one-off female backing singer and electric guitars aplenty, the set is both similar and completely apart from She Makes War's previous output. Gone is the DIY troubadour approach - when multi-instrumentalist Kidd used to mount the stage to play alone. Instead, her trusty electric remains semi-permanently strapped to her shoulder, only occasionally making way for her beloved ukulele, while various friends complete She Makes War's live line-up. The grunge rock direction is a reflection of what Kidd wants us to hear: this is She Makes War as it always was meant to me. Giving new life through a more embodied sound, the material draws an even stronger comparison to the Britpop and alt grunge scenes - both of which Kidd admits to following.

Amidst the din of electric guitar, grinning faces and jostled drinks, the content of Direction of Travel is quenched a little. After all, this is a homecoming show. The album is literally and metaphorically about searching for a location, and nothing to do with the comfort of having a PJ day. Maybe that sense of being on the road would be at odds with Kidd's current situation; maybe we're all having too much fun to care. One thing is for sure: this live show has been as essential as the album itself.


One Response to “She Makes War @ Thekla, Bristol, 26/03/2016”


    1. She Makes War | Live Review: “Direction Of Travel” Album Launch at Thekla, Bristol, 26th March 2016 - 06/04/2016

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