Jorinde and Joringel EP Launch
- Kate O’Dempsey - Jed Timms - Sara Wolff
Opened optimistically and briefly at the start of last year, QU A RR Y is in the middle of a bank of units under an old disused railway arch near Invisible Wind Factory. Sitting outside the venue, waiting to go inside for the Friday evening launch of alt folk duo LORIS AND THE LION’S debut EP Jorinde and Joringel, it occurs that the arch and the units link together the urban past and present before our eyes. Given the recurrent theme of the EP being the dark side of fairytales, myths and nature, delivered in tender mystical tones, one can’t help but imagine long lost souls and spirits mischief-making under the archway as minutes tick by.
Tonight is sold out in advance and there’s a first day back at school feel to proceedings, QU A RR Y opting for the hybrid approach, a reduced capacity affair but with the chance to mingle if you want. The stage is subtly christened by thoughtful acoustic singer songwriter KATE O’DEMPSEY, her sweet heartbreaker Won’t You Stay gently sexy and sincere. ‘I don’t want to be without you another night’, she sings. We’ve all been there.
Cheery JED TIMMS openly shows vulnerabilities in his songs, enhanced by the contrast to his fun and chirpy banter. Some beautiful strains of melancholy hit the sweet spot right there, one man and his guitar elegantly played. I’m With The Band is a different take on social awkwardness, although the title’s double meaning adds a clever slice of humour and is much enjoyed.
SARA WOLFF’S band tonight includes Rich Bond, one half of Loris & the Lion, and gives the recent When You Left The Room EP its live debut. How much of a relief it is to experience once again that slightly unsettling feeling as we are reminded of Wolff’s eccentric way of regarding life. Hearing old favourite Cotton Socks is an unexpectedly emotional experience, a bit like bumping into an old friend and ending up on a weird night out. We are so lucky to have Sara in Liverpool.
Loris & the Lion haven’t played a live show since 2019 which seems eons ago and at the same time totally normal. There is a real sense of community here tonight, the audience going outside for a breather in breaks and watching each artist faithfully and loyally. Catching up with producer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Rich Bond, and singer and main songwriter Georgia Harris on the Sunday evening over Zoom, it’s clear that this value and dedication is precious to them. So much so that, during the last empty year, they played a monthly acoustic set from their doorstep at home, neighbours dotted up and down the road outside their own houses, listening and enjoying. “We were trying to work out how we could use our music in a positive way,” explains Rich.
The six-song EP celebrated at QU A RR Y is a long time coming, some of it written during Georgia’s mid-teens a decade ago, stretching through her adolescence. It teeters on the brink of being a mini-album length-wise but they both shy away from describing it as such. It was important for the songs to form a cohesive piece of work, but announcing it as debut album didn’t quite feel right.
“Yeah, some of them are quite old,” Georgia concedes of the songs. “They just came together, conceptually. Which really sounds very pretentious!” Jorinde and Joringel is a collection of songs retelling and imagining tales hundreds of years old and more, from folklore and the lived experience of women today, all viewed through a modern feminist lens. It’s worth remembering that as children it was the darkness in fairytales we enjoyed the most, and still treasure as adults, and how stories for the very young are positively psychedelic, bonkersly so. “I’ve always been fascinated by fairy stories, folk stories, nursery rhymes, because they were an early form of satire, and I just love the idea of using all these different tropes.”
At QU A RR Y, Georgia and Rich brought a full band with them, fitting somehow on the tiny stage by some magical force. What with the dreaded NHS app pingometer threatening to spoil all our fun, Rich had definite anxieties on the run up. But wonderfully, it’s a very relaxed pair onscreen this evening, with a day or so behind them to reflect on the experience of playing in front of a paying audience once more. It’s interesting to learn how Friday was something of a personal revelation for Georgia. “It was just lovely,” she smiles at the memory. “It really was. This is the first time ever I haven’t had any stage fright. I don’t know if it’s because my body’s kind of out of the habit, so it had kind of forgotten what to expect or because we were just so happy and grateful to be back together. The joy overrode the anxiety.” It’s worth bringing up the spirits and so forth under the railway arch, plotting. Up to good stuff, instead of scary. Could they have something to do with this, does she think? “It’s a magical place,” she laughs. “Maybe it is the goblins…” Maybe there’s more light in this new world of ours. Inside QU A RR Y, at least.