Hazel and I headed out for the wilds of scary, bohemian Dalston to catch what Zöe Keating described as her "London debut" (because last time was a long time ago and opening for someone else). The Vortex is a Jazz club, a small rectangular upstairs room packed with small round tables and uncomfortable kitchen chairs. It looked quite sweet and imagine that half empty and with better aircon, it was probably a rather nice venue. But last night was a sellout and every small table had five full grown adults allocated to sit around them, the window sill had full grown adults allocated to sit along it and the room was uncomfortably hot and cramped. There was only one pillar in the room and my allocated seat was neatly positioned just behind it.
We arrived just as support act Ruby Colley was starting, she played an electric violin (or was it a viola?) and a Loop Station to make intense layered tunes, and was very impressive although occasionally felt a little formulaic and was possibly a piece or two too long. She finished her set with a cover of (the scary Exorcist bit) from Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells.
Zöe arrived on stage later than I'd hoped, knowing that a second set was due at 10:30 it seemed that we were in for a short set as she didn't take the stage until 9:30 (or so). There is nothing formulaic about Zöe's performance - she creates astonishing and beautiful pieces all unique and beautifully varied. Even the technical issues (both digital (computer) and analogue (cello)) that were eating into the short set were handled with with charm and good humour and therefore forgiven by the stifled audience. The set was mostly from her Into The Trees album including Optimist, The Path (v4.4.2 I believe?), Seven League Boots and the gorgeous Escape Artist... plus a few older tracks (Fern, Sun Will Set).
The show, thankfully, over-ran and finally ended at about 10:45, still not long enough but not so short that I can moan too much!
Back to the station and headed back to the uptight west.