Lauren Aquilina @ The Groucho Club 12th September 2016

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Headlining The Sessions at The Groucho Club was the one and only Lauren Aquilina. She now finds herself signed to Island Records and this is such an incredible feat. A couple of weeks ago saw Isn’t it Strange come into the world. Now this sumptuous release consisted of 8 brand new tunes, then you had both Fools and Ocean taken from the EP’s.

The headline set began around 10.15pm. “Hello everyone. Thank you all for coming. I hope you’ve had a good night so far. This is quite exciting because this is the first show I’ve played since my album has come out. Which means that I can play a set full of songs without hating any of them. This first one is actually one of my favourites off the album” Lauren then said to the intimate audience before diving into Wicked Game.The fact it was only Aquilina put a different special spin on each track which worked wonders. Anyways just witnessing this tremendous tune right in front of me left me completely enchanted. Lauren delivered Wicked Game with plenty of gusto and the hookable lyrics felt slightly personal. Things then took a darker turn when Aquilina  mentioned about thinking about death “I’ve been thinking about death/ But I’ll hold my breath/ And I’ll bite my tongue/ These are dark, dark times/ But I know that I/ I will be what I become”. All in all this was delivered to perfection and the story telling lyrics made me picture what was happening in my minds eye. “This next one is slightly happier but also still pessimistic. This song is about just embracing good times and probably getting drunk with your friends” Aquilina mentioned before Way To Good. Now this was a beautiful ballad esque tune which revolved around accepting change. Those charming lyrics left me completely mesmerised and the melody was ever so dreamy. Basically this song tells you to make the most of what you have because you don’t know when it will end. Anyhow this number had been flawlessly written, the verses were sensational and the chorus was rather soothing “Everything is way too good, way too good now/ If nothing is meant to last, maybe we should drink to that/ Cause it’s way too good, way too good now/ Morning’s gonna come so fast, pour another drink in my glass”. Lauren’s gave this tune her all as her faultless powerful vocals sent shivers up my spine.“This next one is more sad again. I wrote this a very long time ago when I was in LA trying to run away my problems” Lauren then said before revealing she wrote Thinking About with some talented musicians in 2 hours. Now this was a whimsical keyboard ballad which resonated plenty of sadness. Thinking About left me in a haze, the verses were impeccable and the chorus was extremely memorable “Cause all I’m thinking about, is not thinking about you/ All I’m thinking about, is not thinking about you/ If only I could lose my mind/ Then maybe I would find a way out/ But all I’m thinking about, is not thinking about you”. The smooth vocals were on point and this tune had me enthralled. Next it was time for the song that her album title came from. “I’m going to play it how I wrote it” Lauren said before embarking onto Suddenly Strangers. I found this delectable cut to be a sleek emotional ballad which Aquilina delivered to perfection. It was the first time she played it live and this version was simply mind blowing. Just like Way To Good, Suddenly Strangers was also about change “From talking every waking hour/ To not knowing where you are now/ We’re Suddenly Strangers/ Isn’t it strange?/ And in the space you used to sleep/ Are all those vows we couldn’t keep/ We’re Suddenly Strangers/ Isn’t it Strange?”. The emotional lyrics made me picture a couple that have broken up but the girl still harbours feelings for the guy.

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It was then onto the home stretch. It was then time for a song about falling in love with your best friend. Fools was that song which she wrote at the age of 16. This number delivered at a fast pace aided by a sublime vocal performance. My favourite part had to be the middle 8. The singable part of this superb song was the line “What if we ruin it all and we love like fools, And all we have we loose”. It was easy to say that Fools is a pleasing number which was highly addictive. How Would You Like It? followed on. Still this was a wondrous tune and the fact it was just Lauren and the keyboard left me utterly entranced.“How would you like it/ If I tore you up into pieces/ Tell me/ How would you like it/ If I left you high on the ceiling/ Now he’s got my dress on the floor/ I breathe a name that isn’t yours/ And let you go a little more/ So how would you like it”.  This number was tender and the slightly emotional the lyrics paint the story of giving that person a dose of their own medicine. Basically Lauren Aquilina is someone not to be messed with. The final song of the evening was happier than the previous cuts performed. This being the albums lead single Kicks which also saw everyone shout out Hey. “Imagine you’re punching whoever you hate the most. Donald Trump maybe” Lauren then mentioned. With steady paced verses and a thumping chorus, Kicks had an aggressive anthem feel to it. “Tell me where (hey)/ Where do you get your kicks?/ Is it from kicking me around/ Cause it feels like that somehow/ Tell me where (hey)/ Where do you get you’re fix?/ I think I’ve figured you out/ I’m done being down about this (hey)/ I’m done being down about this (hey)/ I’m done being down”. What I really liked about this other than the thumping chorus was the fact the lyrics were straight to the point and you can picture what is happening. Aquilina then went backstage only to return moments later for the encore. Hurt Any Less was a majestical tune which left me utterly captivated. The lyrics were spot on and the melody made me think of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream.

SET LIST

Wicked Game
Way To Good
Thinking About
Suddenly Strangers
Fools
How Would You Like It?
Kicks

ENCORE

Hurt Any Less

OVERALL: This was one impeccable evening witnessing an artist who I’ve seen grow in confidence. As a fan I’m extremely proud of what she has achieved since the day I first witnessed her perform at The Bedford way back in 2011.

Considering there won’t be an album tour it was a right treat just to witness these exquisite tunes being performed live. Lauren’s vocals were simply pristine and the set was over in a flash. She truly is a gifted songwriter as well as an extraordinary singer.

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