Tess Parks – Rough Trade, Bristol

Friday 14th December, 2018

I met Tess at Soho Radio in the summer and have been enjoying her album so got myself a ticket to see her in Rough Trade’s excellent live room. Then 6 Music invited me to Lauren’s show and I had to rethink plans for the day. I didn’t want to let Tess down (even though she didn’t know I was going, or who I am!) and so after being home for all of 25 minutes I dusted my tired limbs down and headed back out.

I had already missed the first of the 2 support acts and my asthma didn’t allow me to stay for the second (having a cold has triggered off wonky breathing) so I cannot comment on how either of them were. Having managed to get my asthma under control I moved towards the front in readiness for Tess.

Every time I go to Rough Trade I marvel at how they manage to get a full band in on the teeny stage and how good the sound is. Tess was joined by a drummer, bassist, keys and 2 guitarists so it was a bit of a squish but they made it work and work well. Tess has a cracking voice, deep, smoky with a bluesy edge and she was backed by a great band.

Towards the end of Tess’ set I was overwhelmed with tiredness and had to lean against the wall to support me tired legs and I even considered sitting on the floor! I somehow managed to make it to the end of the gig and say a brief hello to Tess from Tom, James and Josie before staggering to the bus stop to get home. 19 hours awake and burning a lot of emotional energy had finally caught up with me.

I probably shouldn’t have gone to this gig. I have been trying to support independent artists and female artists as much as I can and having met Tess I felt I had to go support her playing live. The room was packed, the fullest I’ve seen Rough Trade, which was great and showed my individual support wasn’t really required!

I was far too tired to have really enjoyed this gig, which is a real shame and it’s been too many days for the memory to make sensible words come out. I can tell you that Tess’ album is ace and she’s worth seeing live if you get a chance. I hope I get the opportunity again when I’m less tired and a lot more emotionally with it.


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