It has been nearly a decade since the Indigo Girls were last here. To say their fans were excited was an understatement. As soon as they announced their shows, social media went crazy and people were becoming emotional at the fact a life long dream of theirs was about to be lived.
This tour saw the Indigo Girls in
CAMBRIDGE, FOLK FESTIVAL
And LONDON, ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL for two nights.
My friend and I opted for Saturday at Islington Assembly Hall. We had been looking forward to this show for a number of months and were eager to see them live. Despite it being sunny in our minds and hearts, the rain came down quite heavy before the show but that didn’t mess with our sunny disposition. I had never been to this venue before and had no idea how close to Union Chapel and The Garage it was so it was a nice surprise. The Hall is beautiful and is a grade II listed building which is owned and managed by the local authority.
The property was not always a music venue but was used to host various events since 1930 such as variety shows, tea dances and weddings. In the 1980’s the venue was closed and It laid dormant for around 30 years. In 2010 the building was refurbished and re opened by Islington Council and it still retains some of its original features such as clocks, paintings and original panels. The venue was clean, comfortable and very pleasant. My only issue was the lack of air conditioning as it was so very hot in there.
The venue filled calmly and no one rushed to get to the front – everyone simply gathered around with their family and friends and were having a great time. The Indigo Girls attracted a variety of audience, mostly of a maturer age which was a nice change and there were many couples and many groups of friends.
The support act was a very lovely lady named Lucy Wainwright Roche from New York City. Lucy had a very angelic voice who reminded me slightly of Kate Rusby. On the stage alone with just her guitar, Lucy more than entertained her audience with her stunning music and her wonderful charm and wit. We did learn that Lucy had a disappointing arrival with £150 worth of expired £5 notes which was a shame. Lucy interacted with the audience well asking if we had any questions or comments and she talked about how her country is in peril at the moment and can she marry an audience member to stay here.
The most memorable moment of her set was an amusing story of how she played in Lithuania. “They hated me” she told us. Lucy continued to tell us how her experience was so bad that it was either cut the set short or finish big, she decided to finish big with an attempted sing-a-long of Bruce Springteen’s Everybody’s Got A Hungry Heart. This, did not go down well and it was only when a man at the back of the audience shouted “You need to talk about Basketball” that things started to turn around. Confused but going with what the man said, Lucy tells us how she decided to replace the line Everybody’s Got A Hungry Heart to Everybody Loves Basketball and then suddenly, the disengaged, arm crossed audience lit up and sang a long in a way she had never experienced before, apparently Basketball is huge over there.
Lucy was so much fun and her music was sweet sounding and a beautiful blend of folk and country folk.
Next up were the Indigo Girls. The crowd roared with excitement as they entered the stage. Before singing, Amy and Emily introduced their highly talented band, some of whom were UK based and musicians that they had played with before such as Clare Kenny, Carol Isaccs, Suzzy Roche and they were also joined by Lyris Hung from New York on Violin and Lucy Roche.
The girls kicked things off with Love Of Our Lives. Now if you aren’t familiar with Indigo Girls then I recommend getting familiar as these women are such an inspiration and talent. Their vocals and harmonies are off the charts and the way they sing brings a sense of comfort, warmth and serenity. The audience were so respectful apart from the odd heckler but hey, fans do shout requests every now and then and Amy and Emily didn’t seem to mind. The atmosphere was unbelievable. It was so friendly and so happy.
The Indigo Girls have so much energy on stage and not only do they sing beautifully but they are talented musicians too. Amy played guitar and mandolin throughout the evening and Emily was insane on the electric guitar. The ladies are cool without even trying, they have such a natural laid back and chilled, cool vibe about them which is admirable.
The entire evening was full of fantastic music with a crowd who knew every word to every song. The most mind blowing and epic moment for me was when they sang Power Of Two which I was praying they would play. I honestly got chills. I have loved that song for 22 years since I first heard it on the soundtrack to the film Boys On The Side and I have had a love affair with that song ever since. Live, Power Of Two was perfection and I had no idea just how popular the song was but everyone went mad for it. The way the song is sung is so emotive, passionate and heavenly. Emily has such a melodic voice that just hits you and when Amy adds her harmonies, well…lets just say I was done, it was a moment I won’t ever forget and a moment 14 year old me would never have expected to experience.
Amy and Emily continued to impress throughout the evening along with their very notable and exceptional band. I wish I was a hardcore fan so that I knew every song but you know what? It didn’t really matter because going in blind for some songs just blew me away even more . Cold Beer and Remote Control was a great moment as Emily said she wote it whilst working in a grocery store. The most energising moment was Faye Tucker and as my friend described it, the Pirate Song. People were foot stomping during this song with its Irish punk styled sound which was electrifying, fun and just incredible.
Emily sang solo for one song called Train Inside which I believe she said is part of her solo record. I could be wrong…..This song was enchantingly beautiful. What I love about the way Amy and Emily write is that their lyrics are so real, honest, relatable and incredibly clever because they translate real events and experiences into such a way that makes it look easy as it’s so relatable but you know what? It isn’t easy, it’s a rare talent.
This show was so different to the shows I have been to recently in so many ways, it just felt easy, it felt safe, it felt homely and it felt bloody wonderful and the music and singing was just another experience entirely.
Honestly, we had such a good time, we laughed, we sang, we were silent, we were loud, we loved every single minute.
Review by Hannah Compton