Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Troy Faid Live @ Hyde Park Cinema, 27/03/09

Cosied up among the velvety cinema seats at this special little album launch, the group of patiently waiting audience members shuffle up to accommodate the smokers as they step quietly in from the chilly outdoors. Troy Faid has a substantial following in his hometown of Leeds, and tonight the turnout was far from disappointing. Seated comfortably with glasses of complimentary wine, the murmuring faces look up at the stage where tonight's compere exclaims his love for Faid's supporting musician, Elizabeth Nygaard. "We're half an hour late in starting," he apologises, but nobody seems to mind.

Elizabeth Nygaard commands a room's attention the only way a voice like hers can. Plucking her guitar strings angelically, she sings sweetly of stormy emotions and falling in love. Her cover of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" shows off her razor sharp voice to its full potential by being both sparse and beautiful in equal measure. Some songs might lack a little lyrical depth, but in “Majesty”, a newer addition to the set list, she sings dryly of an emotionally-damaging relationship, showing a definite progression in her style.

A quick ten minute break sees the enthusiastic host take to the stage again to assure the crowd that Troy will be playing for us very soon, and urges everybody to buy his newly-completed album “Last Week’s Tune”. Recorded in a church on Cardigan Road and showing the bluesy charm he’s so good as pulling off, it really is worth getting excited about. He steps out in front of the audience behind his guitar, and despite sporting a newly-shaved head and a smart suit, he looks shy - awkward almost. “I got told to speak more when I’m up here,” he says. “So I’m talking.”

Watching him play, it’s easy to see where Troy’s appeal comes from. His eclectic mix of old blues stylings and his own strong grasp of the music he clearly loves instantly engages the listener. On the cinema stage his introverted presence changes dramatically once his guitar begins to ring out around the room, and through every intricately detailed song his mannerisms became more relaxed. It’s rare to enjoy somebody’s performance as equally as the songs they play, but it’s also rare to see somebody play so intently merely because they enjoy doing it so much. The audience are treated to songs from the new album, but part-way through Troy strides purposefully offstage to sit behind an old over-strung piano. Jazz-blues that wouldn’t be out of place in a 1940s speakeasy playfully fills the room, showing that perhaps Troy might not like to chat between songs, but he certainly likes to have a laugh with his music.

At the end of the show, Troy and his compere make one final ad-break, and the audience begins to file out, suitably impressed. Impressed not just with the choice of venue, or of the skill of the musicians, but of the immense love and enthusiasm both artists had for their work, and the raw talents that they were sharing. Troy deserves to sell every single one of those albums, and Leeds deserves to hear them. He is undoubtedly a local talent to be immensely proud of.

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