Tonight was a night of firsts; Matilda Mann’s first gig in Bristol and Arlo Parks’ first UK headline show.
The buzz around Arlo Parks has become increasingly hard to ignore, not only is she one of our recent Ones to Watch but also part of the BBC’s sounds of 2020. These accolades are for very good reason all confirmed by the indie pop artist shaking up Bristol’s Rough Trade, and on a Tuesday night at that.
The support act Matilda Mann played a beautifully stripped back set. She stood alone on stage with just herself and guitar, yet still commanded the attention of the crowd. Her soulful licks and hauntingly airy vocals left everyone in the room in awe. The young singer without a doubt showed off her huge potential, whilst still having a very down to earth feel about her, partially due to her cute awkwardness that came across as very relatable. One thing that needs to be said about both acts on the night is that they both had a very genuine feel to them, without any pretentiousness or arrogance, something that makes then vibe of the room very cosy.
When it comes to Arlo Parks’ set, she had a real swagger to her. As an artist this early in her career it is an impressive feat to be this comfortable in front of a crowd; she just looked as if being on stage is exactly where she was always destined to be. By this point in the night, the room was packed from front to back, it was a majority female audience that was loving her youthful energy. From the get-go everyone was ready to get down and boogie.
It would be impossible to ignore the tightness of Arlo’s band, searing guitar solos and psychedelic rhythms were in abundance, sprucing up the recordings for the live arena and giving you every excuse to get your hips shaking. One of the nicest moments of the set was when she took a break between songs to perform a poem that she had written earlier in the day, before giving her handwritten copy of it to a fan in the front row. She is an artist that thrives in these intimate settings and the close relationship with fans gives her an edge that will surely see her doing well as she continues to grow.
As well as playing fan favourite songs such as ‘Super Sad Generation’ and ‘Sophie’ she also gave the crowd some sneak peeks at upcoming releases. The strongest of which being ‘Punk Rock Eyes’, although not straying too far from the sound of her previous releases the new tracks went down very well with the crowd and saw Arlo showing off her ridiculously strong vocals.
For a first headline gig, Arlo Parks showed exactly why she’s been attracting so much heat in the recent months. The night felt as if it was the beginning of something very special and we can see a very big future for this rising star.