By: Amy Grace
28 August, 2017, 13:00
Heading down to my local haunt on a damp Saturday night would all be worthwhile after the enchanting events which unfolded there. Goddess Kate Stapley delivered a touching and spellbinding solo set at The Louisiana which had me close to tears (in the best way possible). Sharing the bill with her were Salvation Bill, who played ‘spooky loop pedal rock songs’, Bristol based indie riffers Nicholson Heal and artist Daniela Dyson delivering poetry tinged with nostalgia.
Known for being Springbreak’s leading lady, Kate has built up quite the fan base in Bristol, comfortably filling The Louisiana. Kate appeared on stage wearing a flowing blue gown hand-made by her mother which was enough to give Stevie Nicks a run for her money in the wardrobe department. Opening with the chilling ‘Iceland’, featuring Harry Furniss on cornet and Zander Short on violin, this number stunningly set the tone for the night. Having incorporated these instruments into the set, it massively complemented Kate’s electrifying voice and expressive lyricism rendering me close to tears on more than one occasion.
As the night continued I gradually got more emotionally attached by Kate’s songs, she had me wrapped around her finger in the space of an hour. The next number was a sentimental song written about her nan with dementia. ‘Potted History of Mum’ touched the entire room, the audience clinging onto her every word. She’d got us all hook, line and sinker. Kate stated that she gained inspiration for new material by beginning to “write songs that reflected having a conversation with someone who had alzheimer’s”.
A flurry of wonderful tunes followed, for ‘Catacombs’ I simply wrote in my notes ‘YES’. Unforgettable lyrics ensued, such as ‘I must have my father’s nose because i can never smell trouble’. Her creative and decorative style of lyricism is admirable, her voice being the embellishment which fills the words with life.
Followed by a Springbreak tune ‘I’m Walking Here’ is a song “about being on your period and being catcalled”, another prime example of Kate’s witty observational writing. Having previously seen Springbreak perform, it was a treat to see this song stripped back in all its gutsy glory. Then came ‘These Planets’, a dreamy solo Stapley tune featured on her debut album which is currently in the works.
For the final number, Kate was joined on stage by her dad playing guitar, both performing a song titled ‘Pappa Stapley’ which Kate had wrote for his 60th birthday. A poignant track celebrating things which her dad had taught her whilst growing up. Imagery such as learning to ride a bike and teaching a young Kate guitar chords, rudimentary life lessons which I could wholeheartedly relate to. This track left me with a lump in my throat, I’d been won over by her charm and was rendered speechless.
Kate Stapley will be playing the Grain Barge on September 6th followed by a Springbreak gig on the 8th September at Crofter’s Rights. Don’t forget your handkerchiefs.