Brooke Combe, QMU, Glasgow ***
The internet is awash with cover versions by aspiring singers but occasionally one hits the spot. Midlothian singer-songwriter Brooke Combe posted her version of Yes Sir I Can Boogie and was ultimately scooped up by Island Records before she had much gigging experience. Now she has made up for lost time and is a remarkably assured performer. The enthusiastic homecoming crowd helped but there was not a note out of place in her confident delivery at her biggest Scottish headliner to date.
Soul is her bedrock but she is also a songwriter with indie credentials – working with The Coral frontman James Skelly, who has become something of a mentor to young singer-songwriters, supporting a number of established indie outfits and playing TRNSMT and the Reading Festival will sharpen the faculties. While a couple of solo numbers on piano exposed her as Emeli Sande on steroids, the deployment of a four-piece band turned this performance into a bluesy rock show with drumming to shake your foundations and occasional acid guitar licks applied to her pop tunes.
Impress You is one of her favourites and she was completely on top of the performance, challenging the male gaze. Over You was a self-styled “f*** you” to her friend's ex and the rest of her callow subject matter tended to swing between heartbreak and defiance, with a guitar-only version of Used to Love Me eliciting an audience singalong.
However, her choice of cover versions attested to her ballsy ambition. Yes Sir I Can Boogie is gone, replaced with the aching R&B of Angie Stone’s Wish I Didn’t Miss You and Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues. Combe was brought up on these classics and has the chops to drop them into her set, even if it did put the bland and breezy likes of her own Miss Me Now in the shade.