Amy Firth – Live

Monto Water Rats, Kings Cross (13/03/2012)
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Amy FirthIn the back room of a pub in King’s Cross I was lucky enough to stumble upon what could be the next big singer/songwriter in Sydney-born Amy Firth. Despite her unassuming stage presence, this is a one-woman show with a lot going on

Opener ‘Come Running’ is a shock to the system in terms of the power of Amy’s voice and the huge technical ability she has with her guitar. From the start, Amy is effortless in her execution. ‘Aeroplane’ follows suit with a breezy tale of moving away and dreaming of far off lands. It’s clear that there is an autobiographical flavour to most of Amy’s writing and each song gives a certain snapshot of her life so far. In between songs, Amy chats with the audience, and it’s clear that a lot of her work exposes some very personal themes.

‘Arms of Paris’ is the centrepiece of the set and showcases Amy’s voice to its full potential. Amy tells the audience that the last time she played this song she had stopped dead mid-way through. It’s a huge song with a lot of emotion and complexity. Although an accomplished songwriter, this shouldn’t detract from the huge vocal ability Amy has. Never frightened to drop some vocal gymnastics into a track, the power she has can sometimes bowl you over. As a live act, this is Amy’s major strength.

Introducing ‘Saw You Coming’ Amy tells the audience how we’re now approaching some very personal space. What follows is one of the best live performances I have seen in a while. It’s a tale about loss, and the sorrow and emotion she clearly still feels. Towards the end of the song, Amy lets us in further, and we can see her shed tears once it’s over. It’s a hugely emotional journey Amy takes us on, and the honesty and vulnerability with which it’s being told is clear to see.

To draw comparisons with her peers, Laura Marling springs to mind in terms of her storytelling, but Amy feels somehow more authentic. You can feel the song has been crafted to talk directly about something very real. In terms of her technical ability, her style is probably more akin to Anna Calvi, due to her (almost) operatic vocal ability and accomplished guitar work. There is a lot going on and a lot to take stock of during her set.

‘New Heart’ ends the set and talks of running into the sea on a New Year’s day in the freezing Scottish winter, to find a new heart. Again, a tale of friendship and throwing caution to the wind to find something new.

I would certainly recommend you see Amy Firth while she is touring some of the smaller London venues. I have no doubt she will be picked up soon and, given a wider audience, she will no doubt flourish into something even more special.

Set List

1. Come Running
2. Aeroplane
3. Old Man Winter
4. Tate’s Lullabye
5. Arms of Paris
6. Saw You Coming
7. The Dilemma Lady
8. New Heart

You can catch Amy at The Bowery on the 20th April 2012.

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Mike Conyard