THERE is a strong throwback element to Ren Harvieu’s music, classily couched in piano, trumpet and cello arrangements, giving this festive concert the atmospheric glow of an intimate bygone Christmas gathering.
Even in a scuzzy rock basement, this gifted Salford chanteuse, resplendent in seasonal red, and her sensitive band were capable of transporting moments such as the moody torch ballad Forever In Blue, accurately compared to a Bond theme, and the luscious country croon of Do Right By Me, executed with a cry in her voice.
Harvieu’s vocals were wonderfully controlled and expressive throughout, a seemingly effortless amalgam of classic country and jazz techniques (even with a throaty cold), and touched almost operatic melodrama at points during Love Is A Melody, a piano ballad co-written with singer/songwriter Ed Harcourt and delivered with such noir ambiguity you could believe she was singing that “love is a malady”. Roll on her second album and more Harcourt collaborations.
The Christmas portion of proceedings followed on with a number of well chosen festive covers, including a peppy Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, a spine-tingling version of The River by Joni Mitchell (dubbed “my singing teacher” by Harvieu, who communicated the ebb and flow of the tune expertly), a role reversal rendition of Baby It’s Cold Outside performed with her guitarist Joe and a non-role reversal singalong Fairytale Of New York before Harvieu was cheered back on stage to close out with a touching Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.
Seen on 16.12.14