Kristin Hersh – Engine Rooms

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Beginning her UK tour in Southampton, Kristin Hersh is still creating music which leaves you transfixed by her powerful sunny blue-eyed gaze and mesmerising voice. 

Supporting throughout the tour, fellow Throwing Muses’ Fred Abong opened by playing songs from his new ‘Pulsing’ EP, released the same day. The highlight of the set was ‘Firefly’, which defies to be classed in any genre. 

When Kristin takes to the stage shortly after, it’s clear why the tour is labelled ‘Live and Loud’. She is joined again by Fred and 50 Foot Waves drummer Rob Ahlers as they blast out LAX and No Shade in Shadows from her explosive ‘Possible Dust Clouds’ album.

Heartfelt solo tracks from her career become intensely rich now they’re played as part of a trio, but they still maintain a raw energetic force. Fan favourites ‘Your Ghost’ and ‘The Cuckoo’ frighteningly sound louder-than-ever, despite being over 25 years old – and they still reward with trinkets of silver and gold. 

Some lesser musicians may get quieter with age, but there’s no chance of Kristin pretending to be graceful. Her rat-girl tunes have more force in 3 minutes than other pretenders and proteges can muse.

Taking a couple of minutes to tune her guitar, she quips that while Sonic Youth may have 30 or so guitars, she just has the one Fender she has to continually retune. It’s no wonder when she reaches for a screwdriver and thrashes along the strings, somehow melodically.

There’s no clouds left over Southampton after Kristin has blown them away. In her words, ‘I think last night, you were driving circles around me’.

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