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Rebecca Loebe + Greg Hancock

Venue: St James Church Hall
Town: Exeter
Date: 30/03/19
Website: https://www.rebeccaloebe.com/

American singer-songwriter Rebecca Loebe made a triumphant return to Twigg's Gigs at the end of March, releasing her new album to the Devon masses. A little over a year after her last visit during the Beast from the East cold snap, it was at least a little warmer this time round. This was the penultimate date on a mini solo tour, and Rebecca was joined for the evening by another artist with a new album, Greg Hancock.

The State of My Hair has received some deserved rave reviews, and Greg wasted no time in kicking off the night with the title track. Like a lot of Greg's music, it's evocative and relatable with a rich vein of humour. The idea that no matter how old you get, and how little remains up top, your mother will always care about the state of your hair. Memory and nostalgia featured heavily in the opening set, the title track being about the unreliability of memory, and Thunderbird Wine certainly conjured up a bygone era.

The award winning Longest Night is always a welcome addition, and was the sole representative from his excellent debut A303. Coffee & Cake is about meeting up with someone from school years later, perhaps unwisely. Hancock ended his set with Four Spanish Words; a tale of unrequited love, and the logical step of running away 6,000 miles to Saudia Arabia. All this and a tub full of free Blackjacks and Fruit Salads.

There was a real buzz around the room as Rebecca took to the stage, launching into Say So from previous album Blink. It's her voice that hits you first, capable of filling the room and drawing everyone in. There's an incredible warmth to her vocal talents, and it's more than matched whenever she talks to an audience, telling stories about the songs or what influenced them. Her pre-interval set was completed with three songs from her brand new album, Give Up Your Ghosts. Ghosts was a real highlight, and was utterly captivating. Lake Louise was co-written with Luke Jackson during a long late drive on their tour together, and it's as beautiful as you'd expect.

After a break charming the audience further, Rebecca kicked off the final set of the evening with Got Away, also on the new album. While most of the songs were from the new album, and the very recent Blink, there were a couple of old favourites thrown in too. Marguerita from Mystery Prize was another highlight, and Swallowed By The Sea was a real blast of energy near the end of the evening. Her cover of Nirvana's Come As You Are left the entire room speechless for a quite a few moments before the eruption of applause.

It would be impossible to pick a favourite song from the set list. Growing Up was named by Rolling Stone as one of the top 10 songs to hear this week, and you'll find no argument from me on that score. Hush was simply sublime. For an encore she sang the final track of Give Up Your Ghosts; Popular feels like a song with an important message that will no doubt strike a chord in near everyone that hears it. It's an essential listen.

If all of this sounds like it would be right up your street, I have bad news. You've already missed Rebecca's tour. Our loss is the Netherlands' gain, but she's already planning to come back to the UK for a more expansive tour in the near future. If that tour stops anywhere near you, it would honestly be madness to miss it. I've rarely seen so many people so enthused at a gig, and the line to purchase CDs was impressive.

Greg is still touring however, and most of the dates are Songwriter Circles where you get three great artists together. Dates still to come include gigs in Cornwall, London, Yorkshire, and Durham, so still plenty of time to get to one of the shows. Greg is a wonderful performer, and he's so good at marrying together passion and whimsy in his music, which comes across so well in his live performances. Check out greghancockmusic.com for more details.

Adam Jenkins

Gig Reviews

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