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Meadowlark – The Star Inn, Guildford (Live Review)

Two weeks before the release of debut album Postcards, Bristol based duo Meadowlark played a small show in Guildford, with support from local bands Sleepy Folk and Me and the Moon.

First up are Sleepy Folk, whose alt-folk sound shines with a whimsical presence on stage. There is a theatrical feel to their set, from manic laughter to the evocative performance of ‘Flame’, with showgirl vocals and weirdly, but certainly in a way that works; a rap section. There is always an element of surprise with this band, one minute it’s happy and fun, then next thing you know, they’re putting all their emotions on display. Single ‘Make Love’ is the most notable, a song so smooth and soulful, rich with romantic depth. Sleepy Folk take you out of the room and into their a world of their own and it’s just pure magic.

Indie-pop band, Me and The Moon, follow, delivering a strong set and showing off pure talent. While their songs are catchy, it feels like something is missing, at least at first. As their set progresses, it becomes more apparent that the emotions in each song can be read all over singer Tamara Grzegorzek’s face, and the band really work as a unit that loves and cares for one another. That being said, there’s room for a little more presence on stage, just a little kick of energy to keep the momentum going. This band are certainly on their way to something big and we can’t wait to see it. Personal favourite from the night is ‘Get Away’, which features below.

Finally, it’s time for Meadowlark, and though their set starts with a technical hitch, the alt-pop duo are not phased in the slightest. Opening with ‘Pink Heart’, tonight is very much about celebrating their upcoming debut album, as the band go about performing their newest tracks, some of them previously unheard by the crowd. Significantly, this show shares the release of ‘Body Lose’, a perfect example of the band’s approach to emotionally driven tracks. This is real to the bone, the lyrics resonating deeply while the melody steps in to lift our spirits.

When it comes to the title track of the album, the set is somewhat stripped back for a beautiful rendition of ‘Postcards’, causing a stir of emotion that you couldn’t possibly have imagined. There is a beautifully delicate atmosphere in the room at this time, the crowd silenced. Of course, tonight isn’t all about the new stuff. Meadowlark take it back to an old folk EP of theirs, which for reasons not to be discussed is no longer available online. It’s a little bittersweet, as there is such a tenderness to their sound here, but we’ll just have to make peace with the fact that we won’t be able to revisit it, that the performance here is a special moment.

Such a moment is not isolated to one song, as the duo perform ‘Quicksand’, a track based on the unethical brick kiln trade in Pakistan. Meadowlark are all about putting personal experiences into their songs, and before this track, they had never explored a situation entirely alien to them. The result is a track that fits in well with their signature sound, emotional as ever, this time from a different perspective, and slightly more ominous than we’re used to. It’s a good decision to play this track live, helping to show another side of them, something that would have gone unnoticed were you to just come across the track online.

Then it’s back to business as usual, from teaching the crowd how to ‘oooh’ along to ‘Fly’, to closing with one of their better known tracks, ‘Eyes Wide’. The duo have created a warm atmosphere, from songs that are deeply touching, to those that you’ll have stuck in your head for days. There is a sense of familiarity with Meadowlark; their live performances draw you into their sound, ensuring that you’re not alone, and allowing you escape the world for a moment to explore your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. A sweet band to catch live.

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Meadowlark UK Tour Dates

29/09 – The Hope & Ruin, BRIGHTON
30/09 – Sunflower Lounge, BIRMINGHAM
01/10 – The Wardrobe, LEEDS
04/10 – The Shed, LEICESTER
05/10 – Fibbers, YORK
06/10 – Record Factory, GLASGOW
07/10 – The Cluny 2, NEWCASTLE
08/10 – The Rocking Chair, SHEFFIELD
10/10 – The Moon, CARDIFF
11/10 – The Junction, PLYMOUTH
12/10 – Talking Heads, SOUTHAMPTON
13/10 – The Louisiana, BRISTOL

Debut album Postcards out on June 30th. Pre-order now.