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Review: Fazerdaze @ The Louisiana

A long awaited and triumphant return to Bristol from New Zealand's Fazerdaze

By Dylan McNally, Co-Deputy Music Editor

The Louisiana might just be the best venue in Bristol. Small and intimate, with consistently good music, it has that proper grassroots feel to it. There’s no pretence to be found, and there doesn’t need to be. It keeps you coming back, too. Just ask Amelia Murray, better known as Fazerdaze, who has played the venue on every one of her visits to Bristol. The crowds have grown with each performance – this time the Louisiana was sold-out. 

Supported by Al Costelloe, formerly of Big Deal, it was a familiar affair, with Murray having supported Big Deal on her first tour of the UK, and first visit to the Louisiana. Now it was Costelloe’s turn to return the favour, which she did excellently. The crowd was certainly quiet, as Costelloe herself pointed out, but it was more that they were captivated rather than uninterested. It would be hard to be uninterested at such honest and open songwriting, at any rate. There’s a confidence to her songwriting that transitions seamlessly to the stage, despite playing solo for the first time. With new EP, So Neurotic, only a month old the material was certainly fresh but in no way underdone, with the title track being a particular stand-out.

It was a night of new starts. Morningside, the surprise hit record that started it all for Murray, might’ve seemed like a blessing, but burn-out followed in its wake resulting in a five-year hiatus. Returning to a British stage for the first time since that hiatus, there was an excitement, appreciation and genuine happiness that radiated from Murray as she took to the stage. It continued throughout the night. Those five years have allowed for not only personal introspection, but musical changes too. Her typical dream-pop/indie-pop sound has been elevated and experimented with. there was, then, a worry that it might not translate to a solo set, but those concerns were quickly assuaged. I did not think it was possible to get the sounds that she did out of an acoustic guitar. Making use of everything from loop pedals to backing tracks, it was a solo set choreographed to perfection. The set itself was comprised of a mixture of new and old, although it was her newer songs and especially latest single ‘Bigger’, that had the most impact. Murray thanked us for coming out on a Monday evening, almost surprised to be the one to draw the crowd, although really it should be us who were offering thanks. The audience remained enchanted throughout, although managed to find their voice by the end of it, something that Murray particularly seemed to appreciate. As she launched into ‘Lucky Girl’, her last song of the night, there was a triumphant feel. Fazerdaze was back. For good, it seems. And we all knew it. 

It really did feel like somewhat of a special moment, an artist realising not only what she’d been missing, but happy to be back. And an audience that understood what it meant. With the promise of new music in the not-too-distant future, hopefully there won’t be another five year wait. And who knows, her next show might not even be at the Louisiana (not that it’d be a problem if it was). All we know is Fazerdaze is back and happy to be back, and that’s no bad thing. 

Featured Images: Dylan McNally

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