- by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date: Label:
Downstairs at Hyde Park Book Club on a hot and sweaty day, the venue completely sold out and deservedly so. The anticipation around tonight’s performance is palatable. Miranda Arieh will play bigger venues then this but it feels like the ideal place to finally launch her astonishing debut album, Ferine. It’s an intimate setting where Arieh can reach out, meet us eye-to-eye and really communicate with the crowd.
It sounds clichéd to say so but you can really feel the warmth and love in the room. OK, so the warmth might just be the fact that we’re eagerly packed into the HPBC basement on a sweaty day. But the love, now that’s genuine. Tonight’s album launch feels like a celebration for Arieh and audience alike. And we could all do with a decent party, right?
Arieh takes to the stage wearing a multi-coloured, leopard skin leotard complete with feathers. Every bit the iconic pop star from the moment she steps out. “A bit underdressed” I hear someone say. Well, now that you mention it, I think I probably am.
Taking her place behind the piano, Arieh opens with the beautiful and defiant ‘Order of Size’. We’re treated to a few songs tonight that aren’t on Ferine, quite possibly destined for the next LP. As a songwriter and artist, you get the feeling that Arieh is always in motion.
The full band joins her on stage and the show really starts to take off. “Dance like no one's watching” Arieh tells us as they launch into an ecstatic ‘Viva Vivacity’ “or that everyone’s watching and you just don't give a crap”.
The amount of talent on stage is ridiculous. Singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Glover plays sax, arranger and percussionist Aid Todd on drums, multi-instrumentalist Tom Clegg on piano and guitar and Sisterhood Music Collective co-conspirator Jen Pugh/ Astraluna on bass. Everyone really gels an electric synergy that brings everything to life.
The brooding ‘Capture’ is dedicated to “anyone who's felt silenced” while ‘Soul Price’ is there to remind us that, “you’re always enough”. Tonight’s performance is filled with messages and dedications, Arieh using her platform to spread something positive and hopeful. Her work as a mental-health campaigner irrefutably tied to her work as an artist.
There’s a real sense of occasion in the air, tonight is less of a gig and more of a full-on show. Arieh changes costumes at various points throughout the night, a genuine pop-chameleon. Everything down to the running order feels well thought out while the performance is split into two sections, a new video for ‘Hold On’ shown in the intermission.
The second half starts with two particularly powerful ballads, songs filled with hope and strength. ‘The Swimmer’ feels like an epiphany in song (”I never wanted the easy road”) while ‘Another Lover’ is preceded by Arieh reminding us to, “talk to yourself as you would a friend”.
The room bounces along to the unbridled positivity of ‘Impossible’, the band really emphasising the songs insistent groove. The melancholic ‘Well You’ is heartbreaking and comforting at the same time while Glover’s extended sax solo really takes it to the next level. Arieh takes the opportunity to change into a glam, lizard-like costume for the anthemic ‘The End’. The show’s over. Well, not quite.
They come back to take the roof off one-more-time with a jubilant ‘Hold On’. Then, as if things can’t get any more euphoric, it happens. The back doors open and a full, leather-clad, samba band march in. The energy and excitement in the room quite unlike anything I’ve seen. If it wasn’t so loud I’m sure I’d hear the sound of jaws hitting the floor.
Arieh told us that she wanted the Ferine album launch to feel like a celebration and it really does. I’m genuinely blown away; a big-hearted, passionate, emotional and inspiring performance. If you missed out then don’t worry, I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from Miranda Arieh.