On Thursday night I headed to the Green Note in Camden for my latest gig. Anyone who has read some of my concert reviews will know that I love the Green Note, perhaps the best venue in London for an intimate gig. In running Belles and Gals I head to a lot of concerts but I had an extra spring in my step heading to this one. I came across Hannah White a couple of months ago when her single “I’ll Make You Strong” was recommended to me but it’s only a couple of weeks since I first listened to her latest album “Whose Side Are You On”. The album certainly had an effect as directly after listening I knew I had to see her live, so purchased the Green Note ticket there and then.
The night began with support artist, folk singer Ruth Theodore. I’ll admit to knowing next to nothing about Ruth before she came on stage, although a couple of people I spoke to said she was an amazing artist. After the set I would have to say I agree. It’s hard to put into words exactly the kind of artist she is, as she has a quirkiness that is difficult to define. As an example, the final song of her set was one about a love affair between the no-longer-classified-as-a-planet Pluto and Eris. I found myself completely transfixed throughout her performance and would certainly recommend that everyone check her out (www.ruththeodore.com). She has a new album called “Cactacus” coming out next month.
Twenty minutes or so after Ruth, Hannah White appeared on stage, alongside the band consisting of Keiron Marshall on guitar, Mike Ikweseumi on bass and Courtney Anglin on cajon/djembe. At the start of the set she told a story of how the latest album came about because of one song (I would tell you the story myself, but we’ll be interviewing Hannah soon, so I’ll leave that to her!) and it really made for a nice beginning, adding some flesh to the bones of the album I loved so much. This song was “Whoops” and she opened with this brilliant number. It’s always interesting seeing an artist perform live for the first time – and it was clear already that Hannah’s songs really come to life when performed live.
The set was a nice mix of songs from the album and some new material I hadn’t heard before. In the first half of the set, highlights were “Whose Side are You On” which was simply beautiful, while “It Will Be Alright” was a song written about Hannah’s emotions post-Brexit and I found myself hanging on every word. “Tracey Emin” was another song that really came to life and “I See Sky” was wonderfully uplifting.
In some ways the set just became better and better in the second half. “Elephant Eye” was a song I hadn’t heard before and I really hope this is on the next record. Sometimes, you go to a gig and there is a song that you only really connect with after hearing it live and that song for me was “Beautiful Dresses”, this the highlight of the night for me – brilliantly sung by Hannah and equally brilliantly played by the band.
The final song of the main set was “I’ll Make You Feel Strong”. A few cheers went up as the first bars were struck and this was just fantastic. Hannah sung this with a pure joy throughout which was completely infectious and the entire audience was clapping away at the end, no one harder than Hannah herself. There was literally a smile on every face in the Green Note when the song came to an end, and there was no way she was getting away without an encore!
Hannah White has a real charm. Her chat between songs really adds to the performance and she has a great sense of humor too (although I wouldn’t leave a glass of water near her, as she is sure to knock it over!). She manages to deliver the emotional numbers with great intensity, while also clearly reveling in singing those upbeat catchier numbers – a delightful combination. All in all this made for a fantastic gig.
Would I go and see Hannah White in concert again? I wouldn’t miss it for the world!!