By Susie Long - Music Subeditor
Walking in (embarrassingly) a few minutes late, we were pleasantly surprised to see the whole room was sat down. An armchair sat invitingly on the stage, and the whole scene was lit by the soft warm glow of a pink standard lamp draped in ivy which stood in the corner.
Opening with the unbelievably talented Sam Vano, whose gentle vocals and seamless guitar set the scene beautifully. He laughed with us about Guinness and the British obsession with salt and vinegar, as well as giving out some temporary tattoos - which has to be up there with the best merchandise I have ever received.
After a short break spent chatting to other people in the crowd, Victoria Canal took to the tiny stage. But really, it wouldn’t have mattered whether she was in the Louisiana’s intimate upstairs room, or on a festival stage for thousands of people. This woman has an extraordinary energy that could fill any space she’s in, even before she starts singing. With heartbreakingly beautiful songs about queer love, family, body dysmorphia, disabilities, and more, Canal’s discography is as much therapy as it is entertainment. In fact, she shared that it’s often been suggested to her to charge therapy rates alongside her ticket prices - I think she’d make a fortune!
Victoria Canal is the sort of person that I think it would be impossible not to be friends with, and this was clear from the audience that she gathered for her show. It was the most friendly, secure atmosphere for a concert that I have ever been in - essentially a whole room of strangers that I would’ve trusted to hold my drink. To create this safe space for listeners is no mean feat, and Canal does so effortlessly. Not to throw every superlative I know at this piece, but I have never encountered an artist who loves her fans the way that Canal loves hers; she really is a magical human with magical music to match.
Canal’s track ‘swan song’ has held a special place in my heart since I first heard it, with simple piano parts, cello arrangements and seamless harmonies that, when paired with achingly nostalgic lyrics highlighting the temporary nature of life and family, is nothing short of a masterpiece. Beautiful even as a standalone thing, it was made a million times better live. Prefacing the song by telling us to hold our friends and fellow audience members close and to look after each other, Canal opened up the possibility for her fans to simply feel, with no judgement or repercussion. It was a beautiful sight, and a concert experience that I will hold close to my heart for a long time.
Jumping between emotionally complex works and lighthearted pop tracks, Canal knew how to pull at her audience’s heartstrings in all the right ways. Whether we were listening in apprehensive silence as she debuted a new song dedicated to her best friend, or singing along enthusiastically to a beautiful cover of ‘Motion Sickness’ “for the gays”, the whole room was in the palm of Canal’s hand the entire night.
Victoria Canal’s music captures wonderfully the beautiful soul that she is, and her songs are definitely up there in my recommendations of songs to get you in your feelings in the best way. They break you and put you back together again simultaneously, all tied up in the perfect quintessential indie-folk package.
Featured Image: Susie Long
Have your ever seen Victoria Canal live before?