For those who bought tickets to tonights gig based on what they knew of Beth Orton as a singer-songwriter with distinctly folk/acoustic leanings, they were setting themselves up for a hard fall. Indeed, within the first 20 minutes I’d seen a slew of people exiting via the back door, probably wondering what on earth they’d walked into. For those who remember Orton circa Central Reservation and Daybreaker this was not a walk down memory lane. But then, who wants to keep pulling out the same versions of the same songs for 20-odd years? You have to feel for her.
It’s a tough problem to crack. Even as recently as her 2012 release Sugaring Season Orton remained relatively true to the sounds that originally made her well known. But with her new release Kidsticks she goes down the electronic route which was always present, even in those earlier recordings. I’ll confess it isn’t to my taste and, despite really trying to engage with the new material it wasn’t until she broke out the acoustic guitar and Pass In Time that I really wanted to be there.
That probably sounds like a criticism but it shouldn’t be taken as such. She’s a risk taker, a re-inventor and above all a creator. Not everyone is going to like it, but who cares?