Live Review: Gemma Hayes at the Olympia Dec 9th 2012

Last night, Gemma Hayes & band performed a quality show for her fans in the grand surroundings of The Olympia Theater which was recorded to be released as a Live Album next year.

Special guest last night was Joe Chester who was really impressive with a perfect singer-songwriter set. His guitar playing was exceptional throughout and he was joined by a Double Bass player which gave great depth to his songs. I'd rate his performance up there as one of the most assured and confident performances I've seen in a long time.

Gemma was joined on stage initially by Ann Scott on keys, ukulele, guitar and percussion and then the rhythm section of Karl Odlum and Binzer joined the band. You could sense from early on that this was a special gig for Gemma and it took a number of songs before she looked more calm and assured on stage. Early tracks like the Kate Bush song 'Cloudbusting' didn't come across too well due to this unease and sound issues with the ukulele! It wasn't until the introduction to her track 'Oliver' and the interaction with the crowd joker that the mood changed.

Standout tracks on the night were 'Keep Running' and 'Shock to the System' from her most recent album 'Let It Break' and the older tracks such as the brilliant 4.35am off her 1999 debut EP and 'Back of my Hand' from her Mercury nominated 'Night on my Side'. The crowd pleasing tunes were the three covers of Cloudbusting, The Buzzcock's 'Ever Fallen in Love' and Wicked Games by Chris Isaak.

As a fan of an artist like Gemma Hayes who has four full albums and a few EP's released there are always going to be songs that you want to hear live that isn't in the setlist. However including three covers at the expense of great songs like 'Ran For Miles', 'Hanging Around' and 'Home' left me a tad disappointed. On a positive note the encore of 'Let A Good Thing Go' followed by a rendition of 'Have Yourself A Merry Christmas' was quality. Joe Chester and the Discovery Gospel Choir joined Gemma for the festive number and brought the night to a commendable finish.