Local singer/songwriter from Ripon enjoys a packed homecoming gig at the legendary Leeds Brudenell Social Club.
Photos and Review by John Hayhurst
I often think back to watching an incredible version of Hall & Oates ‘You Make My Dreams Come True’ on YouTube – its was such a delicate slow soft breathy style of performance but it was the fact that this was coming from a 12-yr old local schoolgirl in Ripon that was the major surprise. There she was, sat ‘Ont’Sofa’, dungarees, teeth braces and converse shoes – captivating thousands of people watching. Back then she was Billie Tweddle and the 10 years of watching this girl grow into the performer that she has become have been nothing less than majestic. I’ve seen her perform at Otley Korks Wine Bar, House Concerts in York and even had a hand in arranging her first local festival performance. Then at her debut album release party at Headrow House in Leeds and across many more venues in the UK – even a short support slot when Carole King played Hyde Park.
Tonight is a homecoming of sorts – her family are in and she has a nice bouquet of flowers (including some from her allotment – featured this week on Gardeners World). The legendary Leeds Brudenell Social Club is full of students, friends and long time supporters of Billie Marten, and I’ve never seen her smile so much at a show before.
Still wearing denim dungarees and converse shoes, picking up her guitar a quick Hello Leeds and we are into tracks from her latest album ‘Flora Fauna’ namely ‘Garden of Eden’ and ‘Creature of Mine’. Immediately there is a sense of shift in noise level compared to previous shows, and that can only really be attributed to her band whose rounded sound starts to drown out the talkers at the back of the hall. This can only be a good thing and ‘Human Replacement’ follows in similar suit.
It’s only when she offers for the chance to hear some acoustic work do we get a resounding “Yes” from the crowd and she tells the band “Right you lot f**k off”. “Any Requests?” is the next question and one admirer at the front shouts “Live” and away we go. ‘Live’ is a standout track from her first album and sounds perfect tonight, you could hear a pin drop, or a can being opened, as we did at the end of the song. It is nice to hear some of the older tunes but there were noticeably few of them tonight as she heavily promotes the latest album.
Final song is my personal fave ‘Blue Sea, Red Sea’ and even a spot of sway dancing breaks out, huge cheer at the end, big smiles all round – this girl can do no wrong – we look forward to the next gig.