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Live Review: Brooke Parrott at the Regal Room

The Regal Room is a live music venue on top of a jazzed up pub in Hammersmith. Last night, moments away from a bouncing, spotty horde watching Slipknot in the nearby Apollo I nibbled poshed up fish and chips and took in their weekly acoustic night.

Hold on...Hammersmith. Weirdest place on earth right? That drain hole roundabout, the way the streets lead nowhere, the puddling shadows beneath that famous flyover.

The screaming heebie jeebies grab me whenever I exit that tube so credit then to the Regal Room for creating a lively atmosphere and filling the room with an enthusiastic crowd. I forgot entirely where I was, swept up in the pleasant vibe.

Once the energetic compère tottered off stage the performer I was willing to brave acursed Hammersmith for stepped into the lights; Brooke Parrott. An American singer-pianist with a sense of dignified emotion and subtle musicality British songwriting rarely produces.

The other acts were decent. There was an accomplished female white soul singer (you know the wronged, strong, chubby type), a kooky Amos-a-like who sung about a boy on the moon and a bad, guitar slapping singer-songwriter. He, truth be told, was gruesome but overall the standard was excellent for a free night.

Thank goodness though for Brooke Parrott, the evening needed a highlight and she was certainly it. There is a strength and a compactness to her writing that can pass you by, clever chords so well lined up you just don't register how much music you are getting.

Her songs are never melodramatic but always have a torchiness flickering round their edges, especially when she lets her voice rip. She is then genuine Americana, stoic but deeply felt. It's an attitude Britain just does not do. Yes we have Nu-Folk which is all about flowers, gypsies and sunshine but let's face it is about as believable as R.Kelly, prince of end stage R'n'B.

Parrott is something different. She sings her numbers, politely closes the piano and you know something intriguing and quietly moving has just happened. Her voice, let off the lead, can really set the ribs a quiver and that, in the end, is what you need from a performer.

I would even recommend going to jazzed up pubs in Hammersmith to see her, thing is I doubt she'll be there long.

For Brooke's upcoming gigs check out ...

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