Last Saturday Charlotte Church played at Fibbers with support by Harrogate’s Pony and Trap.
Pony and Trap
Tonight’s second support act are a two-piece from Harrogate. Vocalist Sally and guitarist Tom write and perform post-punk inspired pop. This was their fourth gig in 24 hours (they were fresh from the Yarnbury Beer Festival in Leeds) but you wouldn’t know it: Pony and Trap had plenty of energy and enthusiasm – they look like they really enjoy what they do. The stand-out track was ‘Coming Over’ (hear it at www.pony-and-trap.com). The sound was pacey and edgy, occasionally tinged with a good dollop of humour and Sally has a mature and flexible voice. Things got a little softer with a couple of acoustic tracks and the set finished off nicely with Tom’s belting guitar solo. They also produce a nice line in ‘pony and trap beer mats’ (thank you).
Leave your preconceptions at the door, we are advised by the promotional material. Ms Church has been in the media eye for long enough to have accumulated a varied reputation encompassing Pavarotti, rugby superstars, her own chat show, divorce, Hello! magazine and Leveson so we have a lot of preconceptions to choose from. But she wants to be judged on her music tonight: a new set of personal tunes, put together with a band of mostly Cardiff-based musicians. There can be no doubting that she sings from a deep well of emotion but the songs are interspersed with a cheery smile and some coy banter. The voice, soothed with regular spoonfuls of Manuka honey between songs, is still there – soaring from quietly confessional to blasting out in true opera diva style. In opener ‘Rise’ and again throughout the set interesting use is made of a loop to layer the vocals and Church is also joined by angelic-voiced guitarists as backing singers.
In ‘Mister Da-Newz’ (“this one’s for Mr Murdoch”) she vents her anger at the corporation which has hounded her from a young age. You can’t leave your preconceptions at the door (it is her reputation which has helped to fill Fibbers) , but you can give them a good shake out. Church is doing her own thing, in her own way, a woman following her own artistic curiosity rather than continuing to dance with the devils. You’ve got to respect that.