I had never seen Martha Wainwright perform before and when she started her first song, I must say I found her strange leg movements a bit distracting, however, I soon realised that it was intrinsic to her energetic performance and I was soon so spellbound by her lyrics and guitar playing, that I hardly noticed.
The only accompaniment to her powerful and compelling voice was her guitar, which she played with an individually stylish flare, d-tuning on several songs to great effect.
She told us of a song contest in Quebec, which they asked her to write a song for, the subject matter being “Four Black Sheep”. She paused for effect and got the expected response. Then she said, in order to make it a bit more interesting, she wrote in a car crash where they all died – which brought more laughter, but I couldnt help thinking that there was something a bit “McGarrigle – esque in this decision!
Martha sang a few songs written by her mother.
One of them was “Come Home To Mama”, which is the title track from her latest album. It was apparently written by Kate a few months before she died and it was an emotional performance by Martha, which got a tremendous response.
However, it was her first encore “This Life” which was my favourite song of the evening – and she followed that by walking out in front of the monitors and singing, without a microphone, “La Vie en Rose”. I”m
not sure if this is common practice across the pond, but the only other singer I”ve seen doing that was Janis Ian at last years Celtic Connections and of course, on both occasions, it brought the house down.