A glorious summer's day, weather-wise, meant that it was really pleasant to be able to have a good old ramble around the Bishopsgate area of London before turning up for my first visit to The Nave in St. Ethelburga's, venue for tonight's gig, a building with an impressive history. Although its foundation date is not known, it was first recorded in 1250, being rebuilt in the 15th century. Following modest damage during the blitz, further restoration was undertaken in 1953. In 1993 an IRA bomb severely damaged the church and once the building was rebuilt and restored it re-opened as a Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.
A wonderful setting, therefore, for the capacity crowd, including several of her pupils, who had come along this evening to witness the launch of Hannah Scott's latest release, Pieces Of The Night.
On this occasion, Hannah, guitar, keyboard and percussion, was superbly accompanied by regular, long-term musical partner Stefano Della Casa on cello, e-cello and various electronic backing tracks together with Sam Swallow, keyboard.
Having seen Hannah and Stefano fairly recently playing rather more stripped-back versions of several of the songs show-cased tonight, I was intrigued as to whether the possiblities of the more expansive soundscape on offer this evening would match up to the quite excellent production values on the CD which had been in my possession since that gig. The answer was a resounding and unequivocal yes. During tonight's powerful performance there were enough electric moments to power a small town, proving, once again, live music's capacity to thrill and excite.
As befitting an album launch, over the course of the evening all eight tracks which appear on Pieces Of The Night were performed, alongside three 'oldies', together with two new, as yet unreleased songs.
The set began with the fifth track on the new album, No Gravity, a magnificent song which immediately captured the attention of those present, with its electronic, spacy beats, underscoring Hannah's powerful vocals. Hearth Of My Home, which followed, featured e-cello and a catchy chorus and served to emphasise the compositional abilities of Hannah and Stefano, who co-wrote all songs.
Hannah put aside her guitar and moved to floor tom for a moving version of Dust & Doubt, before treating those present to the first unreleased track of the evening, the acoustic-flavoured Letter, which we were informed relates to the demise of writing to each other in an electronic media age.
Old favourite, Hurricanes, was preceded by an amusing anecdote concerning the song itself, Dermot O'Leary, Radio 2 and Hannah's mum - rather than act as a spoiler, get along and see Hannah live - I'm sure that the tale will bear repeated tellings.
Following the airing of another, very strong, new song, Vaults, Hannah returned to the new album for two more numbers, Weight Of Your Words and Signs Of Life, the former of which has inspirational lyrics such as
Feel the weight of your words
Your strength and your nerve
The courage you will find
To say what's on your mind
whilst the latter, a truly astounding song, was delivered with a passion and fortitude that left many in the audience breathless.
A pair of older offerings followed, indeed the first of these, The Space In Between was the first song ever written by the pair, with Stefano's resonant cello sounding as evocative tonight as it was on the original 2014 E.P. recording. My Dad And I, from the same release, the first of two family related songs tonight, was a moving and heartfelt offer of thanks to her own father, and again tugged at the emotions.
This was nothing, however, compared to the sentiments and feelings engendered by the poignant and sparse delivery of the next song, the final track on the CD, Boy In The Frame which was written for Hannah's nonagenarian grandmother, who at the age of ten lost her brother, who was 17 at the time, in a car accident.The penultimate song of the evening, the title track itself, Pieces Of The Night was impressive, even the church bell tolling the hour failing to put the musicians off their stride. I cannot be the only one who is glad that the track made the cut to be included on the album, as was witnessed by the rapturous applause that greeted the final notes.
An encore was inevitable, and the trio returned for This Is Not An Ending, not only a brilliant song in its own right, but one which appeals to my perverse sense of humour as a final number.
Tonight was a triumph, and provided musical memories that will linger long.
It is so gratifying to see musicians so obviously enjoying themselves. Hannah appears to grow in confidence and strength with each performance and it was perhaps fitting that tonight's launch took place in a venue named after another woman of strength, St Ethelburga the first leader of a monastic order for women in England.
In order to enhance your musical life two simple tasks need to be undertaken - catch Hannah live and buy the CD. In either order, it matters not.
Hearth Of My Home
Dust & Doubt
Weight Of Your Words
Signs Of Life
The Space In Between
My Dad And I
Boy In The Frame
Pieces Of The Night
This Is Not An Ending
David Pratt, words and pics
There are only so many hours in a day and only so many gigs we can get to. We'd really like to expand our national coverage of the live scene as it remains the life blood of music.
Are you able to help us and the artist you're seeing out by dropping us a review once you get back home, and maybe even a picture. If you are able to help, Mail Us your review and we'll get it up as quick as we can
The Fatea Showcase Sessions are a series of downloads featuring acts that we've really enjoyed and think that more people should get the chance to hear.
Click Here to get the latest session