Kickstarting her sell out headline UK tour in style, Getintothis’ Adam Lowerson witnesses the next step on the ladder for Liverpool’s next big pop star.
Much has happened for 18 year old Holly Lapsley Fletcher in the year or so since her last performance at Leaf. Having signed to XL Recordings, won the Blog Sound of 2015 award and released her debut EP Understudy, the Liverpool singer songwriter’s rise from bedroom producer to Radio 1 star in the making has been meteoric. Now her track Falling Short has racked up over a million streams on Soundcloud, and her debut European tour has sold out, Lapsley seems primed to become Liverpool’s next big pop star.
The feeling of anticipation tonight is obvious, with the sell out crowd queued in excitement snaking down the stairs, through Leaf cafe and onto Bold Street. Unlike many gigs where the audience filter through in dribs and drabs up until the last moment before the headliner’s set, the venue is packed from the minute the doors are opened.
Now bookended by a snapback clad drum pad player and sharp dressed man on synth, Lapsley is allowed to be the real focal point. Addressing the crowd by admitting her nerves about performing to friends and family, she was warm and engaging throughout, and those homecoming nerves didn’t show at all.
Opening the set with recent single Brownlow, the 2014 GIT Award One to Watch winner set the tone for the rest of the evening with her full, soulful vocals lifting the track’s minimalist electronic sound.
Outings were given to a handful of new tracks including the brilliant electro pop Glitch, which despite a minor hiccup causing it to be restarted, showed a sign of things to come with its more upbeat tempo and quick-spoken, almost rapped verses.
Painter (Valentine) saw Lapsley take to the piano showing off her talent as a musician as well as a singer and songwriter, before Understudy tracks Falling Short and Dancing brought the room to fever pitch. The former has the feeling of a real fan favourite already whereas the latter’s intense darkness brought a change of pace to the set.
The track which started it all just a little over a year ago, Station, was a fitting close to the set, and showcased Lapsley’s delicate, understated sound. Seeing her perform the pitch shifted ‘male’ vocal parts live is a strange experience, and felt a bit like all those times Derek Acorah was possessed by a gruff voiced ghost in Most Haunted. Although, however bizarre it was to see that voice coming from a young lady’s body, it is unusual and unique, and is a sign of a young musician filled with interesting ideas about her own sound.
It’s almost frustrating that the set lasts little over 40 minutes, but a testament to Lapsley’s ability to write engaging pop songs that it would be easy to stand through another hour of it. Having spent time recently in America recording new material, and with a wave of festival performances coming up this summer, it is surely only a matter of time before she will be selling out venues much bigger than Leaf.
Pictures by Getintothis’ John Johnson.