The Buyers Club, Liverpool
1st October 2016
Reviewed by Rob Harrison
Saturday night finds us in The Buyers Club to check out Natalie McCool. It’s her hometown gig and it appears that Natalie’s whole family have turned up to see the gig, including her punk uncle who looks like a cross between Gram Parsons and Johnny Rotten. Very interesting, a cosmic punk perhaps.
But enough of this musing, what about Natalie. She isis finishing off a fifteen date tour across the UK and this is the final gig to help promote her new album “The Great Unknown”, which she plays in full.
Natalie seems to have survived the tour intact and is in fine form tonight. The voice is mega, so clear. On the album it’s miked quite close, which is seductive in its way, but live it blasts itself out. in a live context she is a different kettle of fish altogether, what a strange saying but too late I said it.
Her onstage persona is totally David Bowie, acting out the various characters in the songs and becoming the character she is singing about. As these appear to be mostly confessional there is a multi faced personality overspilll situation here folks, but I’m loving it ,and when Natalie momentarily drops the guitar duties the full blown acting comes to the fore, which is great, She makes the single cardiac arrest sound like an Olympic theme tune.
Later on Natalie attempts to get the audience to sing along to the song Fortress. The response is a bit half-hearted, then she shows them how. Fortress is an interesting song with a spiritual quality, that is similar to the Abdullah Ibrahim’s ‘Water From An Ancient Well’. it’s really good and has a timeless quality to it.
Natalie has drilled the band for the performance and they really step out of sync. it’s all done in the service of the songs folks, But when the band loosen up at the end it starts to rock a bit more, I suppose the temptation to keep it under wraps is a big consideration, but if the band could groove a little it would perhaps open the sound up a bit more.
Unfortunately it all seems to end too soon, a sign of a good gig I suppose. As I begin to leave the venue the last glimpse of Natalie is caught on the merch desk, where she is ripping apart the cellophane wrapped CDs with her teeth. Once again another full bodied performance is at hand. Go Natalie go.