Fresh off the back of a successful album tour this Spring, and following a busy festival season, former 2012 X-Factor contestant, Lucy Spraggan, has taken to the road once again to perform a series of acoustic gigs at small venues across the UK.
Last night, the 26 year old Derbyshire lass played a sold out acoustic set to a packed and attentive crowd at The Arts Club, Liverpool, and proved that despite facing some emotional and turbulent setbacks (Spraggan and her wife, Georgina, were viciously attacked earlier this year after a gig in Brighton) she’s still got what it takes to compete on the folk-indie music scene, with her positive energy filling the venue like a ray of bright sunshine.
The singer-songwriter has previously spoken out about her own mental health issues following abuse she’s received from online trolls, and her fourth album, I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing, released at the beginning of 2017, explored the subject of mental health, growing up, and all those weird and wonderful things we experience as we traverse life and tackle obstacles throughout our twenties.
Songs from that album dominated Spraggan’s set with other tunes from her previous two albums, We Are and Join The Club taking the excited crowd on an hour-long emotional rollercoaster ride.
Favourites, Tea and Toast, Loaded Gun, Mountains, Lighthouse and Last Night (Beer Fear) went down a storm, with punters hopping and bopping along, just like proverbial loaded guns.
New tune, The Sunday Song, was received really well and it sounded like she was singing about how we all feel towards Sundays – like it’s the best day of the week.
But it was sixth song, Fight For It, and eleventh track in her set, Dear You, that stood out and brought tears to some fans’ eyes – the Arts Club stood solemn in these minutes before erupting into rapturous and well-deserved applause.
Comparing her performances and her songwriting skills to that of The Streets’ Mike Skinner, and more recently, to those of Aussie songstresses Courtney Barnett and Alex Lahey, Spraggan can hold a crowd and play into the audience’s hands because she’s so real. It feels as if she’s a friend, a pal, a mate, not an artist who’s played in front of thousands at festivals such as Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight
Her raw poetic prose and talky-style of performance is what makes Spraggan a stand out from all the other former X-Factor contestants – she’s not manufactured, she writes and performs from the heart; she writes about things we’ve all experienced and she writes with gusto about issues some of us are too scared to talk about.
Her acoustic set was touching yet paradoxically uplifting, and it was easy to see how many of her songs resonated with the crowd – her words and lyrics explored the conflicting feelings related to issues we all face as we grow up; her comedic use of language, the way she emotes her lyrics and her clever rhyming style producing smiles and expressions of understanding recognition from the majority female crowd.
The atmosphere at the Arts Club was one of admiration. It was happy. It was intimate. It was friendly. And the gig was highly enjoyable, a sing-a-long fun-fest.
Four spotlights remained on her and her accompanying pianist for most of the evening, highlighting not only her skills as a guitarist, but her ability to sing sans-guitar too; and the sound was completely on-point, her vocals as clear as day.
Acoustically she’s mesmerising and holds no airs or graces. Some of the tunes she played that aren’t recorded as acoustic on her albums went down an absolute treat and it was nice to hear them being sung in a different style.
Her crowd chemistry was also second to none. Talking to the audience in between tunes, joking with them, asking them to join in with her, and even asking them to choose her songs; Spraggan’s interactive style made all those who attended feel at ease and feel part of her show.
The general feeling in the venue was one of respect and love; her fans tentatively in awe of her talent – singing her lyrics back at every opportunity.
Spraggan clearly adores her fans and it was evident she more than enjoys playing too, especially to her Liverpool contingent, calling the gig the best she’d played on this tour so far and the crowd her absolute favourites!
Leaving the Arts Club on a high, everyone who attended definitely went home with smiles on their faces safe in the knowledge that Lucy Spraggan had given them all she had to give!
Purple Revolver rating: 4.9/5