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Live music review: Carmody spellbinds at Oslo Hackney

Live music review: Carmody spellbinds at Oslo Hackney

Sometimes, if you go to too many concerts, you forget how special they can be. You know that feeling of wonder you got when you went to gigs as a teenager – even if it was to see something ghastly that your adult self cringes to remember? The lights, the noise, the crowd, the music…!

Sometimes that sense of awe fades when you’re standing in the haze of beer-and-feet for the three-hundredth time; when you’re listening to the nth support act struggle against the dull roar of five thousand uninterested punters; when you’re listening to yet another band that you really loved on tape butchering your favourite song on stage. Wonderful as gigs are, they can lose their shine.

When that happens, you need something really special to jolt you out of your torpor. A particularly fabulous voice; an otherworldly stage presence; the power to hush a room of Hackney hipsters with nothing but a guitar and a microphone.

Well, dear reader, that is exactly what Carmody delivers for her support slot at Oslo tonight. Though she’s billed beneath Eliza Shaddad (who was, let me just say here, superlative in her own right), her claim to the stage is staked with the force and skill of a headliner – and not just any headliner, but one who deserves to face a sea of fans in the Apollos, Academies and Palaces of this world.Her voice is quite simply stunning, and her choice of chord and melody impeccable. It really is no mean feat to quiet a room full of people who didn’t come to see you down to total silence, but as the delicate soul of ‘For Desire’ floats off the stage, that’s exactly what happens. You can’t not shut up and listen. Her show is stripped back – one electric, one acoustic, one voice – but that’s the thing about good music; it doesn’t need a barrage of sidemen to pin you to the wall.

The set is brief but memorable, and when Carmody begins to wonder whether she’s run out of time, there’s an actual encore call – for a support act! – from the crowd. Her voice and songs have kicked the wonder back into us, and we don’t want it to end.

It always feels like such a bonus prize to get a good support act, but this was something else – the closest I’ve come to seeing the support blow the lead offstage (again, with the greatest of respect for the excellent Eliza, whom you should all listen to). Truly lovely – get out and see her if you can.

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