It’s Monday evening and we find ourselves shoulder-to-shoulder with an invite-only crowd, in a gorgeous, Georgian townhouse, hot under the collar and eagerly awaiting three carefully handpicked musicians to show us what they’re made of…It can only be another Society of the Golden Slippers.
First up we have the sweetly soulful Raevennan Husbandes, who begins her set with a wonderful little duet featuring tonight’s headliner, Kathryn Williams. Husbandes, with her huge mane of hair, has the presence of a lion – albeit a very cheerful, gentle lion – and the voice of a songbird.
Next, ex-hang player and percussionist with Portico Quartet, Nick Mulvey, stands before us as an acoustic singer-songwriter, with an exceptional talent. Performing songs from his debut EP, The Trellis, and forthcoming follow-up, Fever to the Form, you could hear a pin-drop as we sit mesmerized by the craft of his storytelling and the aptitude of his musicianship. As he finishes with the beautiful ‘Lonely Moon’, with its flamenco-inspired crescendo, we can’t quite believe that this rich and intricate sound is coming from just one man and his guitar, absent of any gadgetry.
We use the break to make absolutely certain that Mulvey wasn’t using a loop peddle (he wasn’t: “It’s an echo peddle… that’s not cheating!”) and then settle back into our seats as Kathryn Williams takes to the mic for the second time this evening.
2013 will see the release of her tenth studio album, but tonight we are treated to a set list tipped in favour of her greatest hits. A couple of new tracks – ‘Tequila’ and ‘Heart Shaped Stone’ – are nestled comfortably amongst a handful of tracks from her back catalogue, including ‘Little Black Numbers’, ‘Come With Me’ and ‘Armchair’.
Williams’ songs are acutely observed and sung with a great deal of honesty, whilst she herself is unassuming, bright and funny. We’re left wanting to be her mate, so that we can tell her our tales of online-dating disasters in confidence, knowing that she will share them publically to the collective guffaw of all assembled (we can’t go into details, but let’s just say it involves man bits in sandals).
With a thundering version of ‘Grey Goes’, Williams brings yet another exceptional night of music to a close, and we are thankful to have been present at the Society of Golden Slippers…not sandals.
words: Puja Maniar
photo: Brad Inglis