Lola Kirke @ The Lexington

Lola Kirke
Lola Kirke
The Lexington, London
Friday 30th November 2018

by Alex Plant

“Country” is regarded as a bit of a dirty word in music circles these days, with the genre having become quite a parody of itself, thanks to artists like Kenny Chesney and his Sexy Tractor. However, there’s a been a bit of a revival of good country and bluegrass in recent years, particularly among female singer/songwriters that have drawn inspiration from the likes of Loretta Lynn to create a new wave of timeless sounding bittersweet guitar music. It’s within this niche that actress and musician Lola Kirke sits quite comfortably, slathering up a dreamy slice of Americana in London, in support of her debut LP, Heart Head West.

When Kirke emerged on stage to little fanfare, from her first lines in opener Simon Says, she had the sold-out Lexington hanging on to her every word. She played a pastel-pink Fender Stratocaster and rocked a super-cool leopard-print get up. Enjoyably, the band all matched in similar outfits, even beardy drummer Wyatt Bertz. The Lexington is a great room for Kirke’s floaty sound, and the gorgeous reverb-drenched lead guitar and violin tones absolutely soared. The band themselves have fantastic chemistry, and it’s a credit to Kirke that, despite her effortless charisma as a vocalist and frontwoman, it never feels like it’s all about her. Lilah Larson’s fluid guitar work particularly stands out, and bassist Cassandra Jenkins provides mellifluous backing vocals and harmonies alongside Hannah Read and Bertz.

Kirke’s often witty between-song-banter contributed to a wonderfully laid-back atmosphere that made the whole evening feel incredibly intimate. After playing Sexy Song, she reminded the audience of one the more unusual items available for purchase over at the merch stand; pairs of lady’s pants featuring the lyric “I’ll love me tonight”. There was swaying aplenty throughout the crowd during Monster, the lead single off of Heart Head West, and with good cause; it’s a beautiful piece of country infused dream-pop and makes for one of the highlights of the set, along with emphatic slow-burner Out Yonder.

Lola Kirke finished up with her recently released Christmas Single, Cross You Off My List, which, to this reviewer’s ear, might be the most tolerable Christmas song in decades. With its bouncy tempo and catchy refrain it makes a perfect closer to a strong set. If Kirke keeps giving performances this good, don’t expect to see her in such a small venue next time she returns to the UK.



 

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