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Review: Laura Misch @ Strange Brew

Following on from the European leg of her ‘Sample the Sky’ tour, Laura Misch performed to a near sold-out crowd at Bristol’s Strange Brew. Combining euphoric saxophone solos with an ethereal setlist of songs, Misch delivered to the fullest.

By Sean Lawrenson, Second Year English

To be honest, when I first arrived at Strange Brew last Thursday for this gig, I walked in to see a near empty dancefloor, wondering why no one was going to see such an amazing artist. Fortunately, in the hour preceding her show, the dancefloor filled, at in no time the venue was rammed. Then, the background music ceased, and we were greeted to the beginning saxophone solo ‘sax rise’. It was a wondrous way to begin a set, just us the audience and Misch. 

However, the highlight of the gig by far was the genuine connection between Misch and her live band, comprising of Marysia Osu on the harp and Tomas Kaspar playing guitar and electronics. In many ways, the relationship between the band seemed reminiscent of how Black Country, New Road often interact in their live shows. Even from the way the songs were layered and gradually built up live on stage, there was a sense of complete admiration between the three of them.

As the setlist continued, Misch played ‘Portals’ a song that she said was written for her grandad, whom she had cared for in the last months of his life. The track is a remarkably other-worldly experience and seeing it performed life was an utter joy. There is something to be said about the ability Misch has as a signer. Of course, her performing on the saxophone is superb, but I was genuinely taken back by just how good she was singing live.

At one point in the set, Misch asked the audience to sit down and shut there eyes. Naturally, we all obliged and listened to Misch and her band take us into this other world. However, of course, I opened my eyes half way through the song to see Misch kneeling down, in utter awe at Osu playing a harp solo. It was a truly wondrous experience, and so understandably when Misch began to play her next song, the audience remained seated, as in awe with Misch and her band as the singer seemed.

The contrast between the songs played in the set also feels important to note. There were songs that were played almost as if lullabies, whilst other felt like classic dance tracks. It is a credit to Misch’s continued development as a songwriter that she has been able to amass a setlist so eclectic in style. When it came time for the encore, the crowd, myself included, had been on a remarkable journey with Misch, who concluded with two songs, again widely different in style. First there was‘Lagoon’, a slower track, followed quickly by the upbeat, bouncy track ‘Climb’. It was a fitting way to end the evening, leaving the audience both in a mood of (and I know it sounds lame saying it) spiritual satisfaction and bouncing off the walls. Misch put it best when she surmised, ‘I’m sure you guys are all going out clubbing after this.’

Featured Image: Sean Lawrenson

Have you listened to Laura Misch?