Mono is pretty busy as I arrive and Natalie Prass and her band are readying to take the stage; there’s a quiet respect around the venue as the Virginia based singer gets ready to enchant the lighty room.
Prass cuts a delighting figure; full of smiles and idle, sometimes lost but never awkward, chit chat; ‘Your Fool’ kicks us into proceedings and her gratifyingly smart yet sultry vocals float on top the tracks jaunty pop sound.
Her self-titled, debut album was very much made as part of the Spacebomb collaborative, which includes the likes of Matthew E. White, and Prass has openly stated this, but it’s her lovelorn tales and endearing coo that really brings the record’s lush arrangements to life.
Live we’re limited to four members, including Prass herself (on record there’s around ten), the brass of the record is relegated from the live arrangements, but this doesn’t make them any less engaging as ‘Never Over You’ keeps things going.
‘It Is You, It Is You’ may seem a little polished, at points on record it feels like it might be straight out of a Disney soundtrack, but Prass’ angelic quality and charming presence lift any of these notions as she purrs along while swaying with an audience member in the front row.
A delightful reworking of Ryan Adams’ ‘Winding Wheel’ and the soft meanderings of ‘Christy’ usher us through the set, before sprightly single ‘Bird of Prey’ injects a spring into proceedings.
New number ‘Jass’ changes things up a bit as Prass hits her most frantic vocal attack of the night; the pacey arrangement ends with the singer writhing on the floor of the Mono stage.
‘My Baby Don’t Understand Me’ and a rockier ‘Why Don’t You Believe In Me?’, complete with noise filled mid section, closes out a the set before an engaging cover of The Supremes’ ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ put to bed any wavering doubts at Prass’ talents.
Tonight might be a sombre little Monday night just after the solstice, but this is the ideal way to spend it – Natalie Prass is a sheer delight.
Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Michael Gallacher