Fresh off the release of her acclaimed sophomore album First Flower, Molly Burch nears the end of her European tour with a stop at London’s must-play venue, The Lexington.
Welcomed to the stage by a sold-out crowd, Austin based singer-songwriter Molly Burch tells us that this is her “favourite show of the tour” before she and her band blast into the first track of her latest album, ‘Candy’. Even at this early juncture the remarkable band waste no time in showing everyone in the room how talented they are. Military-precise yet vivacious drumming from Andrew Collberghas the room grooving along.
With shades of a Ramones set, time spent meandering between songs is minimal. Launching into new track ‘Wild’ we get our first real glimpse of guitarist Dailey Toliver’s dazzling intricacy. The Lexington proves a perfect setting as the impressive glitter ball adorns the lush sounds with an appropriate twinkle.
Most songs only receive a glancing introduction. While this may lead you to believe she is spotlight shy, on performances of ‘Wrong for You’ and ‘Without You’ her powerful and commanding vocals need no preamble.
Burch has notably dropped her guitar duties for this tour instead handing them over Love Machine guitarist Hendrik Siems who bops along joyously throughout the show. Although she occasional plays the keyboard accompaniment, the true focus is on her effortlessly cool vocal performance which continually stuns the crowd.
Outspoken about her struggles with anxiety and sans guitar, the Captured Tracks artist is more exposed and biographical than ever. When she introduces her feminist anthem ‘To the Boys’ we hear shrieks from the anticipating crowd. Lyrics like “I’m not a quiet singer / But I’m a quiet talker” draw the audience in to the singer’sworld, a facet of her writing that has helped to develop a deep connection with her fans.
As the show draws to a close the intoxicating soundscape of debut single Downhearted washes over the crowd. A recounting of a time where her and partner & lead guitarist Dailey Toliver separated, due to her move to Austin, Burch’s velvet like vocals caress the audience with every sombre word. Watching the glancing smiles directed towards Toliver as he glides through jazz-inspired lines peal back the curtain on those love songs we all know so well.
Closing the show with the final track of First Flower, ‘Every Little Thing’ is a soaring achievement that fully showcases the power that Burch’s voice contains. As the song crescendos towards its climax we hear the song take off in a way that sets it apart from the record. With a wall of sound behind her and entrancing vocals, the performance confirms Burch as a must-see live act.
While still seemingly tentative about her place as a lone singer, Molly Burch’s undeniable brand of smoky, jazz-inspired pop is hard to fault. Coupling her awe-inspiring vocals with a flawless performance from her band left the audience knowing that they had just witnessed a bona fide star in the making.
Words, Harry Mitchell
Images, Sid Sowdor and Harry Mitchell