FOR Virginia-raised songwriter Natalie Prass, there must be something of a sense of delayed fulfilment about the release of her eponymous debut album earlier this year.
Electric Circus, Edinburgh
Having made music for the whole of this millennium, ever since her mid-teens, her career thus far has been a succession of almost-breaks and tiny steps. She studied music at university, made a couple of EPs half a decade ago which did very little and made her biggest step up when she played in fellow singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis’ band.
There was a feeling here that she’s on the verge of something major, at long last, as she approaches her thirties. Edinburgh’s Electric Circus isn’t a large venue, and it wasn’t packed out, but it was busy with people who know how to spot good music – regular Edinburgh gig-goers, well-known Scottish musicians, music journalists. The kind of people that a small tour like this is going to impress and get talking across the country in advance of her next visit.
Fortunately, Prass hit the set out of the park. Backed by a three-piece band and wearing her dark hair long over her face, she played with delicacy and a certain attitude throughout songs like the breezy Bird of Prey, the mournful My Baby Don’t Understand Me and a sparse, sensual take on Janet Jackson’s Any Time, Any Place.
It was a passionate set on both sides of the stage, with a member of the crowd apparently setting her hair on fire by accident at one point, and Prass leaving the stage, mug held in triumph, as the closing lines of the Supremes’ You Keep Me Hangin’ On rang in the air.