The Kitchen Garden is a well-renowned venue for its conducive acoustics, and it accrues praise almost each time an artist sets foot in its interior. Over the last decade, many fine nights have been enjoyed in this suburban Birmingham venue, but from a sound perspective, few come close to eclipsing what was heard when Angel Snow and Ida WenØe came to town for a very special gig.
While artists and sound team are not doubt quick to salute each other, the stars were certainly aligned this evening, whether your ears were tuned into the vocals, electric or acoustic guitar. The sum of these parts led to a gig that rampantly surpassed expectation and projected both artists to a new level.
Angel Snow has had a presence in the UK for a few years and has been previously seen in a joint touring role with both, Ben Glover and Matthew Perryman Jones. Maybe it was seeing her for the first time in this venue (although it was not her first show here) that proved the catalyst, but she used her time in the spotlight majestically to cast a spell over the audience with a bunch of beautifully crafted songs. Perhaps, it may have been the solo limelight in the billing coupled with the placidity of the setting, which illuminated the treasures of a precious gift, but there was a special ambience that could never be captured by digital means.
The nature of the set up for this Angel Snow tour meant that the indie-electronica fuelled vibes of her latest album MAGNETIC had been left at home in Nashville. This was no challenge for an accomplished artist to strip down a group of songs that are strong in organic appeal before any trappings are added. In the past, Angel has had the fortune to work alongside some seriously impressive Nashville luminaries and listening to another live version of ‘Lie Awake’ re-affirms the wise decision Alison Krauss made to cut it for her PAPER AIRPLANE album.
Most of Angel’s set revolved around the new songs though, with ‘Vienna’, ‘Disguises’ and ‘I Need You’ rising to the top of the appreciation list. The latter proved the sole outing for the electric guitar, which was a pity as Angel’s delicate strumming extracted the most exalted of simple low spun sounds. The compensation was the near perfection of the acoustic alternative, combined with a vocal skill that allowed each song to blossom. As Angel guided the audience blissfully through around a dozen ear-pleasing songs, a state of mesmeric fixation was not difficult to slip into. This shed the music of Angel Snow in a new light and created anticipation for more.
Joining Angel for this tour is the highly impressive Ida WenØe, and as far as openers are concerned, this supporting performance was easily the highlight of any gig year. Ida was afforded a generous extension to the normal half hour opening slot and gloriously filled it with a fascinating display of addictive alt-folk music from a pan European perspective. Being of Danish origin and currently a resident of Berlin (at the moment anyway) only provides a brief narrative introduction for an artist who possesses the most alluring of performing styles. Right from the opening lines of her first song ‘Changing of the Seasons’, from the current album TIME OF GHOSTS, the audience was captivated by a performer blessed with expert playing skills, an affable demeanour, a fine voice and a raft of delectable songs. Her self-penned tribute to Leonard Cohen was a treat and a majority of the audience unaware previously, had now warmed to a new artist.
From a small acorn on the gig horizon, a splendid evening of artistic superiority flowered, bloomed and blossomed. The Kitchen Garden was at its best, and so was the music of Angel Snow and Ida WenØe. If music is the voice of the soul, the live version spoke loud this evening.