September 29, 2022
Words by: Ewan
As the lights dimmed on a sold-out crowd at the Trinity Centre, Bristols folk pop hero took to the stage to delighted roars of the audience bouncing off the walls. Kicking off the first night of her tour at home, Katy J Pearson treated the crowd to her debut album classic, Take Back The Radio. As major key synth patterns pulsed and soaring guitars filled the hall, the once still and anticipated audience began to sway and pulse with the slow but euphoric build up. Opening the set in such full flow generates a huge applause as the number closes, which Katy responds to with a flustered welcome greeting from Katy, still trying to take in the size of her sold out evening.
Before any one has time to catch a breath, the group hurtle straight into a blend of new album hits and older classics, the band very clearly intending to start their first night of their biggest tour off with a bang. Synths pulse, keys dance, guitars soar. One of the personal highlights of Katy’s tracks are the beautifully arranged Flute and Horn sections which fill a perfect place in her tracks. Sat perfectly on top of the melodic and delicate arrangements, the combination of woodwind and brass neatly underpin Katy’s angelic yet powerful vocal, cascading and highlighting corners of the songs that may have been overlooked by another songwriter.
On home soil, Katy is at her strongest – the Bristolian crowd soaking up the sonic fruits of their very own modern folk hero. So many areas in her contemporary blend of folk and indie pop sit so well with old and young alike. The brittle, introspective qualities of her writing hold tinges of Nick Drake with their insightful melancholia whilst tracks like ‘Alligator’ twitch and ache in the verses not too dissimilarly to some tracks like Pavement. This varied palette is Katy’s hidden weapon – the ability to draw many different musical qualities yet still sound completely like herself.
Drawing towards the end of her set Katy J Pearson takes time to introduce her band to the crowd. A collection of undeniable talent, the band receive huge applause – many members of her group are also well known on the Bristol music scene, giving a huge sense of pride and greatness to this city’s bedrock of local talent. Closing the set, Katy dives tenderly into a cover of Willow’s Song, a track from The Wicker Man (1973) which also appears as the exit to her sophomore album Sound of the Morning. This track brings in all the energy generated throughout the set and draws the crowd right to her feet. It’s gentle and delicate nature leaves the crowd utterly silent. As a last-minute encore, Katy thunders through a second cover – Roam by The B-52s. As the opening guitar riff fills every corner of the hall it ignites the room for one last blowout before closing the evening with grateful goodbyes to the crowd.
As the venue slowly empties and elated people pour into the street the sense of Bristol’s rich and varied music scene becomes apparent. Not only has Katy got two incredible albums under her belt but the people of Bristol are proud to call her their own. The size, energy and genuine enthusiasm for the set tonight is no doubt going to be reciprocated by every single audience on the tour.