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Emmy The Great at the Limelight

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ATL | 15:06 UK time, Monday, 17 October 2011

Emmy the Great/Katie and the Carnival
The Limelight, Belfast
Sunday 16th October 2011



A fairly large crowd has braved the cold October night for music from two very different performers.

“Happy Sunday!” greets Katie Richardson, the front woman of Katie & the Carnival, as she announces her arrival to the Limelight stage. With a 5-piece backing group, she open with the upcoming single ‘Funny Face’, which has a vaudeville-rock feeling to it. With Katie filling the role of a sensual seductress, the crowd is awakened from its slumber as the group roll on through an impressively diverse set of tunes, which vary from the country tinged rock of ‘Secret Song’, right through to the passionate balladry of ‘Where the West Winds Blow.’

The song that gets the best reaction from the crowd however is ‘I Don’t Need You,’ a song that mixes rockabilly and the sound of 60s girl groups, which allows Katie to show off her best ‘Popeye dance moves,’ much to the amusement of the audience. This offbeat humour, as well as their use of unusual instruments (a wooden spoon and colander is used as percussion during one song), and the alluring nature of Katie Richardson mark the group out as one of the more intriguing bands on the Belfast scene.

Due to the energetic performance of Katie & the Carnival, the subtle entrance to the stage by Emma-Lee Moss, better known as Emmy the Great, seems to go largely unnoticed by the crowd. However, the moment that the opening chords of ‘Eastern Maria’ are played and her impassioned singing begins, the crowd are unable to take their eyes off her for the rest of the evening.

Following the first song, Emmy is joined by the other four members of her group as they play through a brace of tracks from her “Virtue” album. The heartache that contributed to its making becomes apparant in songs like ‘Sylvia’ and ‘A Woman’, which she in turn balances by engaging in banter with the audience, questioning if anyone brought their partner to her gig on a date. Several of her older songs, such as ‘M.I.A’ and ‘First Love’ make appearances during the gig, as well as a cover of Weezer’s ‘Island in the Sun’, which Emmy dedicates a group of friends that made the journey over to see her in Belfast.

Despite the personal and insular nature of her songs, Emmy shows a great sense of warmth and humour up to the encore, apologizing for out-of-date references on ‘Canopies and Grapes’, and joking about making this evening the last night of the tour “if all goes well.” Whilst it’s doubtful that the rapturous reception that Emmy the Great received at the end of her performance will lead to a change of her future itinerary, her mesmerizing performance will leave a mark on her Belfast fans for some time to come.

Christopher McBride


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