18/09/2010 | Lisbee Stainton – O2 Academy, Oxford

Jo Cox

“Wow, there aren’t many of you here” exclaims Lisbee as she steps out for the second night of her UK headline tour at Oxford’s O2 Academy. Without a doubt she never expected to pull the kind of audience she saw Joan Armatrading command whilst touring as her support this summer, you can still see the disappointment as she stares into a crowd of no more than 30, including me and the sound guy. I too share some of her distress and with BBC Radio 2 and 6music championing her I can only conclude that booking a little known acoustic artist to play a venue synonymous with trendy indie rock bands was a big mistake.

Nevertheless, the show must go on and despite her visible discomfort Lisbee seems able to put this behind her as she whips through 13 of the 14 tracks on her album Girl On An Unmade Bed with only a few minor wobbles. Full marks for bravery must go to any performer who can then ask for audience participation and my heart is firmly in my mouth, until she is indulged with some finger clicking at the start of Practice Room and even a little singing through the chorus of Harriet.

The reward for our compliance is one new track, The Archives, which probably won’t set the music world alight but is a solid and promising indication of things still to come. Despite remaining optimistic about the young singer’s future I can’t help but feel relieved as she rounds things off with Never Quite An Angel and, as there seems to be nothing left for an encore, I leave with a mild sense of anti climax and a resounding hope that the rest of the tour will be better attended.

www.lisbeestainton.com