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NATALIE MCCOOL / REBECCA HURN / ALEX STACEY | LIVE REVIEW

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nm-tgu-9NATALIE MCCOOL / REBECCA HURN / ALEX STACEY | LIVE REVIEW

4stars

 

The Moon Club, Cardiff, Wed 14 Sept

Natalie McCool has emerged as a critically lauded name in recent years, gaining renown as an artist adept at fusing bubblegum pop with feisty, upbeat vigour. This second stint of a nationwide tour brought the singer-songwriter to the Moon Club, in promotion of her sophomore album The Great Unknown.

Alex Stacey, the first support act of the night, delved into a sequence of wistfully-wrought acoustic ballads, which was effective in establishing the tone and pace of his half-hour set. Conveying a sense of gravitas and emotional integrity through his output, the Caerphilly-based 18-year-old’s talent was in pitch perfect form, particularly with a standout delivery of The Only Heart. Where others fail and blithely go through the motions, Stacey vividly displayed an ability to bring the raw passion of his lyrics to the fore. This ensured he enjoyed an affable rapport with the audience throughout an evocatively endearing performance.

Having opened with a cloying version of Adele’s Chasing Pavements, Rebecca Hurn followed this up with a competent cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. New material was introduced in the form of Lifeline, a slow-burning ditty with a certain charm. This was characteristic of an effusive and resonant set, with the Welsh solo artist briskly churning through a serene rendition of Wildfire from her 2015 debut EP and yet another folksy reinterpretation of Somebody Else by The 1975. Despite a lack of reliance on original material, Hurn demonstrated a powerful vocal range that fuelled the strength of her set.

Natalie McCool, in-toe with her session band, drifted onto the stage with a flourish, introducing herself, along with a few appreciative words to the audience. Kick-starting with a kinetic rendition of Magnet, the Liverpool-born songstress spiritedly flitted between tenacious anthems and peppy pop melodies, showcasing her aptitude particularly in an avuncular roll through of Pins. Proving anything but a flatline performance, McCool continued with the playfully hazy Dig It Out and Cardiac Arrest, an ironically convulsive number. Closing with the frenetically schizoid track When You Love Somebody, the upcoming artist was greeted with audible hollers for an encore from punters, a set that clearly didn’t disappoint.

words CHRIS HAMILTON-PEACH

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