Artist: Kezia Gill
Venue: Manchester, Canvas
Date: 15 October 2023
The material during the ninety-minute performance highlighted a high-quality creative mantra, with Kezia’s fantastic vocal delivery at the heart of everything.
For my second gig in three days (not to mention a T-Rex Tribute night sandwiched in-between) it was a trip into Manchester and another new venue called Canvas, which has been open for around twelve months I believe. It has three rooms available for live music and is handily situated near Oxford Road station (should you choose to gamble with the rail schedule). Kezia Gill has a healthy fan-base and 2023 saw the release of her ‘Misfit’ full-length album to great critical acclaim. Country Music, I readily admit, is not generally my thing, but I was reliably informed that there would be enough of a Rock undercurrent so that I didn’t feel too much outside my comfort zone.
The reception Kezia received when she took to the stage emphasized her popularity and when she launched into the title track from ‘Misfit’ it was clearly apparent that this was Country with a bit of an edge. ‘Whiskey Over Ice’ reinforced that opinion and even the aptly titled ‘Country Song’ had plenty of punch. Having two guitarists in the band (Luke Thomas and Cristiano Pochesci) and tight rhythm section (Phil Donnelly on bass and Luke Barrett on drums) gave the sound proper depth and that continued throughout the show, even during the more poignant songs that saw Kezia pay tribute to her late father, who is an obvious inspiration.
The material during the ninety-minute performance highlighted a high-quality creative mantra, with Kezia’s fantastic vocal delivery at the heart of everything. Her personable between song banter was heartfelt and amusing in equal measure and she seemed totally comfortable in her front and centre role. The likes of ‘Smokey’, ‘Sweet Spot’ and ‘Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman’ had strong commercial appeal and brought the set to a close accompanied by a couple of hundred enthusiastic backing singers.
Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised and can recommend a Kezia show to anyone with broad musical taste, who can appreciate great songs and a genuine talent.
Review and Photos: Dave Bott