La Grange seemed to embrace this new sound with a natural ease, slickly blending the old with the new.
Arriving an hour and a half before Kyla La Grange set foot on stage, I was keen. By now, I had listened to both her albums so many times that the melodies and lyrics were ingrained; I had genuinely been looking forward to this for about a month.
With Halloween being the following night, Thekla was frosted with fake cobwebs and the staff were in full fancy dress. Whilst buying my first drink from the zombie behind the counter, I felt the bright neon flowers, silver bunting and twinkling fairy lights of the stage looked quite out of place. But like a sparkling oasis in the boughs of the boat, they set the perfect contrast for the beautiful performance to come.
April Towers, an electronic duo from Nottingham made up of Charles Burley and Alexander Noble, were the supporting act. Armed with keyboards, electric guitars, eighties synths, plenty of vocal reverb and some brilliant bass lines, they made quite an entrance. The crowd began to build, and they won them over in turn, receiving an enthusiastic applause to sum up their set. By the time April Towers left the stage, I was a fan.
As Thekla began to fill with eager onlookers, the sound-check came to a close and Kyla danced gracefully onto the stage to the brilliantly drummed intro of her song, ‘Fly’. The contrast of the heart pounding base and her soft, husky voice was breath-taking and as she swayed to the beat, the crowd was mesmerised. The intimacy of the venue seemed slightly unnerving at times but Kyla performed wonderfully; appearing humbled by the attention and even keeping face through a few disappointing disruptions from the crowd.
There was a fairly equal split between old and new material, and I was happy to notice fans who were singing along to songs from both ‘Ashes’ and ‘Cut Your Teeth’. Kyla acknowledged the differences between her two albums, thanking her new fans for ‘putting up with’ her ‘angsty’ older songs. I don’t think she needed to though. Her voice remained effortlessly consistent throughout and everyone seemed equally taken with songs such as ‘Been Better’ and ‘Heavy Stone’ – where she took up her guitar with a rock chick-esque passion – as they were with her more electronic songs such as ‘Cut Your Teeth’ and ‘Maia’.
As the show drew to a close with Kyla’s favourite song from her new album – ‘Cannibals’, cries of “one more song!” echoed amongst the applause and Kyla returned to the stage alone sending the crowd wild with her oldest song, ‘Vampire Smile’.
When the clapping subsided, the crowd moved towards the far side of the room, where Kyla and her drummer spent a considerable amount of time meeting fans, selling merchandise and being quite genuinely lovely; I must admit, I got pretty nervous waiting in the queue, but they were both very patient as crowds of photos were taken and endless autographs signed.
My personal highlights were the tropical sounds of ‘The Knife’, the beautiful ‘White Doves’, the powerful, and personally resonating, ‘Maia’ and the powerfully dark, ‘Cannibals’. Kyla and her band put on a stunning and extremely genuine show. They seemed to embrace this new sound with a natural ease, and slickly blended the old with the new. Overall I had a brilliant night, as I’m sure did many others, and I hope to see Kyla La Grange back in Bristol in the near future.
Check out ‘Cut Your Teeth’ right here: