Review: Ali M. Forbes / Boat To Row / Little Palm

Ali M. Forbes / Boat To Row / Little Palm
We Love Wednesdays @ The Bulls Head

It’s becoming a regular visit to The Bulls Head on a Wednesday night for Blue Whale and with line ups such as tonight’s it’s hard to find a reason not to attend.

Little Palm‘s winding piano backed tales are pushing all the right buttons as we arrive, the swells of her jazzy chords and whirling vocals help to gently thaw our ears while the world goes by on the other side of the window. Having just recently joined prog upstarts Tantrums as a full time member and with rumours circulating of a forthcoming remix project using her golden larynx, we expect a fair bit of attention on her in the near future.

She is joined by her new band mate, Simon Gregory on the eve of his 21st birthday to perform a subtle version of the collaboration that got them together in the first place; ‘Steal it Back,’ which is met with much appreciation from the discerning lugholes of the audience.

The added warmth of Michael King in his Boat To Row get up cloaks us with an innocent cosiness. His rapid folky finger pickings and soothing tone of voice is endearing without any danger of becoming too twee or cute, it’s rich and honest and has us gripped. Forthcoming release ‘Higham Hill’ is particularly impressive, softly planting itself within our brains as if its roots have burrowed into our gray matter.

It’s the second evening on the trot for us seeing Ali M. Forbes. Last night the full Malpas experience, of which Forbes fronts, could be witnessed winning over the Academy 2 in spectacular style as support for OK Go (a full review of which can be found on The Fly website here). The lush textures of synths, violin and flute along with howitzer drum pounding stole the hearts of the unsuspecting crowd but tonight it’s down to just Ali to solely entertain us.

Stripped back, songs such as ‘Lyon’ and ‘Here Comes the Rain’ are just as absorbing with their floating melancholia. ‘Under Her Sails‘ is a phenomenal tune, or at least it usually is as tonight percussionist Jim Macaulay, who is only required for this one song, somehow manages to dismantle the damn thing with his clumsy maracas. The intimate atmosphere at The Bulls Head though is also a forgiving one and the set is completed amid a room full of good natured giggles.

Andy Roberts

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