[MUSIC: Live Review] Emma Davis, Patrick James @ Hibernian House, Friday November 25
Wandering through the graffiti-coated corridors of Hibernian House, we eventually locate Emma Davis’ ‘Feel a Thing’ single launch. But we are early – or they are running late – and we have time to admire the street art. Soon enough everything is ready, and we are welcomed at the door by the singer-songwriter herself. Apologising for the delay she invites us to help ourselves to the cookies and alcoholic milk provided; there are cupcakes, tea lights, and the floor is scattered with pillows. As I wait for Emma to begin her set a photographer drops a tripod on me, and I experience firsthand the seesaw effect of the wooden crate I’m sitting on. But I’m undeterred.
It’s a sold-out show and the crowd, made up of friends, family members and fans, are enjoying their BYO beverages when support act Patrick James takes to the stage (joined by Scotty Stevens on banjo). Patrick’s acoustic indie/folk is well received; he’s a superstar in the making.
Emma appears a little after 9.30pm, and by then my splinter-pricked arse is numb. First up is the debut of the ‘Feel a Thing’ video clip – and it’s worth the wait. Conceived by filmmaker and writer Byron Quandary, it stylishly depicts the night-time wanderings of a sleepwalking family. It’s haunting, in brilliant juxtaposition to the optimistic ukelele. Dressed in a white shirt-and-pant pyjama combo, Emma starts her set with ‘Losing Faith’; Mark Stevens, also in his jammies, joins her on double bass and vocals. There are a few technical difficulties, but it adds to the charm and intimacy of the night. There is nothing more boring than a gig that sounds the same as the album. Another pyjama buddy, Leroy Lee (clad in plaid), offers up some expert banjo and harmonica, and the crowd is buzzing by the time Emma performs her second single ‘Machines’, during which she is showered with bras from audience members.
The gig finishes with an impromptu encore cover of ‘I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked’, and there is more disrobing and clothes throwing. Emma is funny, a little shy and very sweet, and there is nothing forced or dishonest about her collection of upbeat break-up songs and tales of disillusionment, which she performs skilfully and earnestly. The show comes to an end, and once again Emma is at the door thanking everyone for coming – which isn’t necessary; it was our pleasure.