Jesca Hoop. The Exchange, Bristol.
An artist only recently on my radar. Smashing little venue I’d been to for the first time 2 weeks earlier.
All I knew about Jesca Hoop was that she had been an in session guest on 6 Music and that plenty of fellow 6 listeners on twitter rated her. Although I’d not heard the session, the recommendation from the station and fellow fans was enough to prompt me to buy the ticket. The Exchange is a fab venue on Old Market Street, small, dark, sticky of floor& hot (until they remember to turn the air con on) and really friendly.
I wasn’t at all in the mood for a gig tonight. Especially going to one on my own. I felt sad, a touch maudlin even. But 40 gigs don’t attend themselves & the money had been gifted so I made myself go.
I was way too early & had an uncomfortable 50 minutes hanging about but at least it was with a crowd more mature in years than last time I’d been to the Exchange. And I was clearly not the only one on my own either.
The support act, Chloe Foy was very good, softly spoken and of lovely voice she was given plenty of support and encouragement by the crowd. Bristol crowds are good like that.
The picture I’d formed in my head was that Jesca was young, new & would be playing acoustic and solo. It was a very pleasant surprise to be proved wrong on all counts. A band of 3 musicians came out first and then Jesca. Barefoot, wearing a magnificent creation (it had pockets, was quite possibly quilted chaps and a crop top with sleeves you could hide a small child inside) & beguilingly quiet. I had deliberately not listened to her music, as I love the surprise of discovering something new and unexpected. Which this gig most certainly was. Every time I though I had a handle on what would happen next, I didn’t. And it was wonderful. Just wonderful. Mostly there was no bass guitar so there was more snare and bass drum and some really creative, inventive drumming and two complimentary yet different lead guitar parts going on. For one song the band sat down, had a beer and Jesca played and sang alone. One song had no drums, but the drummer played the bass instead. One was about not putting out, another about the stars. It was glorious and I couldn’t help but be swept into it and felt my body moving in ways the creaky old joints just don’t do often enough anymore. We had a faux encore, with rehearsal, and a final song that was perfection. I am more than happy to belong to you, now, Jesca. This was a gig that lifted and lightened me.
Sometimes the right music just finds you. Tonight it did.
11 down. 29 to go.