So the first thing that comes to mind when Alela takes to the stage is ‘Flippin heck, she’s all grown up’. After years of peddling a floaty hippy look at several Greeenman festival appearances, she is now a vamped up vixen in a tight black outfit. Alela’s going to show us how far she’s come since being touted as merely Joanna Newsome’s protégé.
As well as sharing production duties on her latest album, her father, Tom Menig has been part of her band from the off and this evening he’s her left hand man giving it his all on the old guitar and mandolin. Keeping it in the family, bassist Tom Bevitori also doubles up as her boyfriend and this cozy set up is reflected in the natural and laid back way in which the performance unravels. The on stage banter feels like you’re a fly on the wall at a Menig family lunch (not dinner, they’re way too relaxed!) as they share a joke about swine flu. The set goes with out fault and the tracks are executed as close to their sound on record as they possibly could be thanks to this family vibe and of course to the warm and wholesome sound that the Gate provides (and a good soundman, no doubt).
Right hand lady, Alina Hardin balances up Alela’s powerful but controlled vocals and provides some delicate harmony work through out the set. This well matched pairing comes in to its own towards the end of the set when the rest of the band vacate the stage to leave the femmes to belt out their take on an old traditional folk song which pretty much leaves the audience in awe.
Stand out track for the night: Every Path