> Megan Black, Lorna Lynne, Philomenah, Emma Dunlop – Room 2 – 17th May (live review) - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Megan Black, Lorna Lynne, Philomenah, Emma Dunlop – Room 2 – 17th May (live review)

Being an opening act in Room 2’s basement venue while the sun is still out is no easy task, with the nice weather beckoning people outside. But the warm stage set the tone, making this feel like the first big summer night out. The artists frequently remarked on the heat over the evening, suggesting being cool isn’t about the temperature.

Big sleeve energy

Emma Dunlop on stage – Photo credit: Andrew Reilly

Emma Dunlop might have been overawed by it all but with some big sleeve energy on display, she didn’t let the early hour or heat unsettle her. In fact, in displaying a calm and collected performance of ethereal beauty with a strong theatrical feel, Emma made you forget about the outside world for a bit.

The cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting’ was very welcome, as it means the review can mention the lauded singer without putting too much pressure on Emma. The whole set had that blend of strength with fragility, no matter whether the backing track was acoustic or backing tape, and the measured vocals always took centre stage. With recent single ‘This Summer’ closing the set in a strong manner, this summer is indeed the ideal time to check Emma out.

Dark 60s vibes

Philomenah on stage – Photo credit: Andrew Reilly

Philomenah was on next, informing us about a change in writing style and guitar lead mishaps that almost derailed the set before it started. Broken and borrowed equipment can often unnerve an artist, but in a way, it added to the show and performance. 

Citing a move from RnB (which of course means different things to people of different ages), the new material marks Philomenah as someone bringing dark 60s vibes to the fore. With dark tales of love, be it family, friendships and romantic, going wrong and justified barbs at misogyny, the artist has a lot to say and a unique voice to make her point with. If you’ve dabbled with the music of Mary Hopkin, you’ll likely find a lot to enjoy here.

Something else

Lorna Lynne on stage – Photo credit: Andrew Reilly

Now, the entire evening featured strong female voices but it has to be said Lorna Lynne was something else. This is said with respect, and admiration, as Lorna has a voice that could strip paint. It might have been a small venue, but every corner of the space was filled during this part of the evening as Lorna’s strong vocals reverberated around.

In saying that, it wasn’t just power on display. Lorna painted raw emotion onto every track, whether original songs or covers. She even sparked the normally insipid ‘What’s Goin On’ (by 4 Non Blondes) into life, which isn’t a simple task.

Rock Godess Ozzy Osbourne

Megan Black and band on stage – Photo credit: Andrew Reilly

Up to this point, all three of the performers went it alone but Megan Black brought her band along, and took things to a whole new level. Before she had sung a note she had been compared to Ozzy Osbourne, a compliment in Megan’s eyes, and that comparison didn’t fade away during the set.

Blending funk, rock, hippy vibes and a whole lot of anger is no easy feat. But Megan Black’s act covered those genres with ease. When you have a great vocalist with endearing chat (Megan easily flips between shy and grateful to the modern version of Rock Goddesses she’s worshipped), your halfway there to making a brilliant night out for any audience. However, with a tight band, all having a moment to shine yet never stealing the spotlight, the show zips by in a flash.

There’s plenty of crowd participation moments on ‘Mother.Sister.Lover’, ‘Just For Fun’ and ‘Fuck You’ suggesting Megan and her music are meant for a bigger stage, and audience.

As we filed out into the still moderately warm evening air, the basement’s stifling heat lingered, a physical reminder of the electrifying performances we had just witnessed. While the sun had set, the warm glow of the night persisted, courtesy of four immensely talented female artists who left far more than just sweat on that small stage.

All photo Credits: Andrew Reilly

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