Martha Hill – The Jazz Cafe Newcastle – 15-12-16

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Aren’t support acts great! I say this as I first saw the headliner, Martha Hill, just over a month ago supporting an artist by the name Lail Arad and I was pretty blown away by not only her music but also her stage presence alone.

For her single launch of ‘Blue Moon’, Martha herself has a support that is of that same caliber within Haythem, who oozes charisma as soon as he steps onto the stage. He says he is surprised by how people sit for so long to watch him play as he “is just an instrumentalist” – but he is one complete with loop pedals galore which he says is ‘cheating’ but if you could loop the way as well as tapping the guitar the way Haythem does then you would see it is far from cheating!



After a lengthy break, Martha stills the room as she opens with Reborn. After a few more numbers solo, she then introduces cellist Ceitidh Mac for the remainder of the set starting with ‘I Can’t Go Home’ which Martha wrote about life on the road and is performed complete with a megaphone.

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We then get to the moment of the night to celebrate her new single, ‘Blue Moon’ to wonderful cheers from the crowd. A great cover comes in the form of the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’, with Martha providing little vocal clicks which only helps to make this a far more engaging performance than Jack and Meg could ever offer. It is actually these clicks and the other sounds Martha does that made her stand out to me in the first place. At first they can seem a bit comedic but the way these effects are delivered, it comes as another instrument to Martha as they are all perfectly timed and placed that it is far from comedic and completely enthralling.

If the night could not be any more varied we have both Martha and Ceitidh take on drum duties and they both excel.

This night basically had it all. We had an audience that is there to celebrate the journey that Martha has taken to get to this point as a solo artist from being in the band Holy Moly and The Crackers (some of whom are in the audience). Her set is also so simple but feels like a big production. Martha Hill excites me and if you ever see her perform too I think she will excite you too and it is no wonder the packed out sold out crowd were not going anywhere without an encore. We are left to cool down a bit with a haunting yet beautiful old English folk song called ‘Georgie.’

Photographer – Victoria Ling

Victoria Ling

Victoria Ling

I've always admired the classic photos of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe but I got my first real taste of photography when attending my first live concert back in 1994 with a Boots 110mm format camera seeing Eternal.My major music loves are Fleetwood Mac and the front lady Stevie Nicks but my favourite music genres are Northern Soul and Motown, though I can listen to just about anything. In terms of photography I also specialise in travel and urban landscapes, as well as music photography of course, both live and documentary.
Victoria Ling

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