Canadian folk duo Madison Violet seem to have turned full circle, the newer songs of tonights set moving back towards a more rocky sound reminiscent of their Madviolet days. This is by no means a bad thing, and with their sixth album on the way it’s clear there’s a desire to mix things up rather than safely delivering more of the same. Whilst their more acoustic driven sound would have in no doubt captured the audiences attention tonight sees the step up a gear, at times almost channeling the spirit of the Dixie Chicks.

Joined by Christine Bougie on lap steel, whilst opener Ohio might once have set the pace for the evening, tonight it’s new song These Ships with it’s country styling and trumpet accompaniments (which they claim to have recorded from two strangers playing at the side of the road) which is the marker of what’s to come. Though Lisa & Brenley’s voices are as strong as every, their musicianship seems to have upped a gear, and whilst the crowd clearly expect different having seated themselves on the floor attentively it’s not long before there’s a pool of people forming at the front, demanding people stand and dance. 

Despite the abundance of newer songs, the best loved oldies still get an airing and Come As You Are is made by the harmonica, whilst No Fool For Trying is made thy the slide guitar. Yet for me it’s the likes of Operator and Bit By Bit which demonstrate where Madison Violet are heading. With samples, frantic fiddles and and a more weighty sound, tonight the duo return to UK shores with an exciting new air about them.

For me it’s the new song Vegas which really highlights this turn, especially as the vocals are shifted from their usual delicate sound to a more gravelling offering which adds grit and integrity to the song. Whilst the duo might not have yet managed to pull the sizeable crowds they deserve, tonight highlights that it might only be a matter of time.

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