Maria Kelly @ The Great Escape @ The Hope & Ruin 18th May 2017

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All the way from County Mayo, Ireland is the incredible Maria Kelly. This was the first time I’d witnessed Kelly perform live and I was greatly impressed with what I witnessed. Having scoured through the 400+ strong line up, Maria Kelly was one of the many artists who stood out. What captured my interest was the song Stitches that garnered praised by the 405 plus it was included in ‘The Best Tracks of 2016’ in The Irish Times. That Irish paper also dubbed her as one of the 50 people to watch out for this year. Making new musical discoveries is The Great Escape’s strong point and Maria Kelly is most definitely an artist I would like to see again in the future.

The sensational 6 song set compromised of the entire The Things I Should EP, the single Stitches and the brand new Bittersweet. So the moment 1.45pm came, Kelly and her band graced the stage. The performance kicked off with Far Below, now everything about this number was sheer bliss. Maria’s sticky sweet vocal tones were hauntingly beautiful and the enchanting Far Below had been well crafted. Whilst Kelly was performing this right in front of my eyes I was reminded of Kate McGill. “Hello I’m Maria Kelly. Luckily my songs are incredibly sad so the choking helps” Kelly then joked before embarking onto Where’s The Worth. Basically the coughing was the result of eating a falafel. “Let’s start that again. Can you tell that I’m nervous. I think I’m hiding it really well” Kelly then mentioned before they restarted this classy cut. I’ve got nothing but admiration for this tantalising tune, Kelly’s vocal tones were candy coated and those luscious lyrics left me under a spell “I wish I was/ Something to be proud of/ But your heartbreak anyway/ If I go in first/ Oh your heartbreak anyway/ So Where’s The Worth in waiting?”. Now this was an impeccable track which Kelly delivered to perfection, her light/ airy vocal tones left me compelled and the heavy drumbeats created something atmospheric. Torn Into Two then followed on and this was splendid piece of songwriting. Maria’s whimsical vocals were so beautiful and those swooning lyrics were incredibly charming. This tasty track was rather refreshing and those impressive lyrics left me compelled from the word go. Then you had the emotionally delicate vocals actually which had me picturing Lucy Rose.

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Meshed to the ending of Torn Into Two was the impeccable Stitches. Now this perfectly delivered track was deliciously dark “I’ve got a black heart/ Swallowing Stitches/ There falling apart/ I was born to question everything/ The smallest spark/ The slightest sting”. Maria’s sweet but fragile vocals left me captivated and this number showcased her exquisite song writing skills. Whilst standing in awe watching Kelly perform this beautiful song made me think of the band Daughter.

Next it was time for something brand new and this came in the form of Bittersweet. Now this cut was a glorious effort, those hazy vocals were distinctly sweet and then you had the melody which packed a punch. This had been perfectly written and those impeccable lyrics left me in a complete daze. Maria delivered Bittersweet with plenty of gusto with the end result being something incredibly epic.

The performance then came to an end with the stunning Pretend. This was literally a piece of perfection, those vocals were top notch and that gorgeous swooning melody was extremely pacey.

SET LIST

Far Below
Where’s The Worth
Torn Into Two
Stitches
Bittersweet
Pretend

OVERALL: If you love the folk genre then give Maria Kelly a listen to. Now this was an enjoyable 6 song set which showcased Kelly’s superb song writing abilities. I came into this knowing very little and then I left anticipating what the rest of 2017 will hold for Maria.

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