Emmy The Great: Sheffield Cathedral

Sheffield Cathedral of Emmy the Great’s tour of churches and cathedrals in support of hew new album Virtue.  Although cathedrals are not heralded as the trendiest location for a gig, Sheffield Cathedral made a perfect venue for Emmy the Great’s acoustic based folk.
Support came from local singer Grace Petrie.  Fusing politics and pop is hard to achieve without coming across as a ranting socialist however her songs are imbued with a sharp wit and intelligence that soon charms the audience.  Songs such as ‘Goodbye to Welfare’ and ‘Emily Davidson’s Blues’ are particular highlights which are sung with such passion that their message is one which strikes a chord with an audience who also seem dismayed with the actions of the coalition government.  In her short set, Petrie demonstrates that she is a singer with something to say and we can only hope she gets the chance to be heard.

Most of Emmy the Great’s set acts a showcase for new album, with a total of nine new songs being performed. However, all new material was greatly received by an enthusiastic audience.  ‘Dinosaur Sex’ places Moss’ restrained vocals alongside synthesizers and wailing electric guitars whilst ‘A Woman, A Woman, A Woman, A Sleep’ is joyous and defiant in its delivery.

Other new songs such as Iris and Paper Forest highlight the development in her sound.  The decision to embrace electric guitars and synthesizers allow Emmy’s delicate vocals to illuminate the stone walls of the Cathedral.  In particular, Trellick Tower is pain-stakingly beautiful and highlights the ever-growing maturity in Moss’ lyrics.  Given that most of the new album was inspired by Moss’ former fiancé renouncing atheism and joining the church, the new songs resonate powerfully within this setting.

We Almost Had A Baby and Easter Parade from début album First Love were also aired and received a great response from appreciative fans. A cover of Meat Puppets’ Lake of Fire proved to be a pleasant surprise, with the song’s lyrics about where ‘bad folks go where they die’ taking on a great significance within the Cathedral’s holy walls.  Moss seemed particularly fond of grunge and chose to cover The Pixies’ Where is My Mind? to close the set, a choice which acted as a fitting end to an unusual yet enthralling gig.

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