Split Reviews

SPLIT 2011:Beth Jean Houghton

SPLIT 2011:Beth Jean Houghton

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Hannah Watson was at the Fringe Tent on Saturday.

THE Fringe Tent offered up a more chilled-out music vibe with some folkie acoustic outfits.

Martin Longstaff’s The Lake Poets filled out the tent. He ambled through some pleasant acoustic numbers before being joined on stage by his band who brought a more rounded sound to his songs with mouth organ, drums and guitar.

His songs were all quite similar in theme, with lyrics about the sea, shipyards and small towns, there’s no question that this boy is from Sunderland.

There’s no doubting that Martin has a strong, tuneful voice and the five or so songs he played all went down well and there was definitely a Damien Rice vibe to his whole sound.

Later in the day, and the penultimate act of the Fringe Tent, Michele Stodart of The Magic Numbers took to the stage offering up her new solo material.

Although the crowd was somewhat sparse, perhaps owing to the fact that the songs she played are yet to be released, those who took the time out to watch her were deservedly rewarded.

Michele delivered meltingly rich vocals over jangly guitars and harmonies from her band, and her blend of beautiful melodies and her powerful, soulful voice soon had the audience nodding along.

Michele definitely is an incredibly-talented musician and she delivered the performance with the ease of a music veteran.

I was thoroughly won over by her solo efforts and will be looking out for her future releases.

Rounding off the night was Beth Orton, and if Michele is a veteran, than Beth is truly vintage.

This lady has been around since most of Split’s audience were learning to hold a pencil, let alone a plec.

Beth casually made her way on stage, unassumingly wondering through the crowd, before encouraging the front row to move closer, which they happily did.

Beth glided her way through some of her classic tracks like She Cries Your Name, Conceived and Shopping Trolley all of which went down a storm with the jam-packed tent, a lot of whom seemed to be hardcore fans, merrily singing along to Beth’s moving lyrics.

She definitely has a presence about her and her experience has put her truly at ease on stage, equally enchanting and endearing when she performs.

The Fringe Tent offered a great alternative to the main tent and boasted some quality acts, hopefully this will be a firm fixture at future Split fests.