31st August | Crofters Rights

It’s surprisingly easy to find yourself in your own personal bubble when it comes to the passions in your life. It’s no surprise that terminology such as ‘the echo chamber’ has become increasingly prevalent in today’s society. There’s a major issue with the inability or unwillingness to gaze upon the other side of the coin. These thoughts entered my mind in technicolour as I settled in to catch Bristol’s own She Makes War at The Crofters Rights. It wasn’t for any sinister undertone, but because it allowed me to appreciate a facet of my passion that I’d maybe not given enough thought towards.

One of the primary observations of Laura Kidd’s musical operation centres around the nostalgic tones of 90s alternative songwriting, more specifically the work of Alanis Morissette, Gwen Stefani and even a touch of Sheryl Crow. The deep personal vein running through her prose acts as a lightning rod for the music that surrounds it. This upfront projection of emotional connection creates a connection between her work and her audience which indeed is physically noticeable in the attentive aura of her fans in attendance. This heart-on-sleeve realism is truly respectable and impressive at points, though occasionally restrained by a shortage of dynamic punch in the arrangement of her tracks.

There exists a hint of grunge’s impact and driving force in many of these cuts, though often the acidity and aggression that is repeatedly conjoined with this genre seems absent, in favour of a sweeter, less imposing presence, without the snarling anger of high-octane, vicious guitars when traversing this field of inspiration. Glancing around the room, though, it is immediately obvious that the Crofters crowd is whole-heartedly mesmerized by these tunes.

Kidd seems to shine brightest when stripping down her writing to its barest form. Tracks performed in solo with her ukulele and a choir of fans manage to capture a rawness and openness that deserves praise and attention, somehow landing with more weight than those performed with backing. That’s not to say there is no merit within the remainder of this set, it’s just these stripped-back arrangements seem to be charged with suspense and dynamics.

The highlight of this outing however specifically deserves a mention. After a few hushed rumblings from the audience, requesting fan favourite ‘Scared To Capsize’, Kidd brings down the lights to perform a sincere and moving rendition of a haunting and delicate opus. Capsize’s droning progression acts as a siren, drifting out to sea warning of the dangers of the human experience, and does so with genuinely moving appeal. As she leads the crowd in a mesmerizing chant of the track’s main melody, it becomes tangibly apparent that this emotion is the keystone to She Makes War’s creative talent.

See the video for ‘I Want My Country Back’ here: