Review: Lucy Rose brings sad songs and infectious energy to the Turf Club

Photo courtesy of Lucy Rose, 2015.

“I’ll be playing sad songs quietly for the next hour. So if you came to party, I suggest you get a refund.”

With those words, Lucy Rose opened her set at St. Paul’s Turf Club on Thursday night. Over the next hour, she delivered on the sad songs, along with heartfelt banter, and (quiet) partying with an enchanted audience.

The last time Lucy Rose was in the Twin Cities was in October 2017 when she opened for singer-songwriter Paul Weller at the Pantages Theatre. Despite her previous visit to the cities, Lucy Rose seemed taken aback by the amount of support she received at Thursday’s show.

“Never in a million years did I think that I could come on this tour and have this many people [at this show],” she said.

Throughout her set, she captured the audience’s attention and brought her infectiously kind energy to the Turf Club.

Lucy Rose opened with “Is This Called Home,” one of the singles from her latest album, Something’s Changing. Her setlist included a number songs from this album, as well as a few older fan-favorites.

Instead of sticking to a predetermined setlist, after playing her first two songs, Rose asked the audience what songs they wanted to hear. She played “Middle of the Bed” for a fan who had travelled all the way from Canada to see Rose perform.

Lucy Rose also shared details of her 2016 trip to Latin America. Since early on in her career, Rose has received support from fans in Latin America who regularly tweet at her and reach out to her on other social media platforms. After reading these messages for years, Rose decided to finally visit the fans who had supported her music for so long, and embarked on a two-month long tour to Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, and Mexico.

Her husband and manager, Will Morris shot footage of the trip, which turned into the documentary “Something’s Changing.”

“For some reason people have these weird perceptions that your biggest fans are complete weirdos,” Rose says at the beginning of the documentary. The film shows Rose’s journey as she travels across Latin America, playing free shows and staying with her fans. All of the shows that Rose played were free and were booked by fans who had reached out to her on social media.

One of the songs that Lucy Rose played was “I Can’t Change It All,” which she wrote for one of her Paraguayan fans, Fernando. While she was touring in Paraguay, Rose stayed with Fernando, and she travelled around the country with him and his friends. After leaving the country, Rose thought about what she could possibly to do repay the kindness and generosity that Fernando showed her on her trip, so she decided to write him a song.

Months later, when Rose was back home in London, she received a text message from Fernando that read, “I’M COMING.” Rose didn’t know what to make of the text, so she ignored it. The next day, she received a phone call from Heathrow Airport security, saying that they were with her biggest fan, who had traveled from Paraguay to stay with her. “Yep, that sounds about right,” she replied.

Will Morris was also at the Turf Club, switching out Rose’s guitars between songs, and Rose sang, “Love Song,” a tender ballad from her latest album that celebrates the couple’s love. Throughout the night, Rose’s voice soared above the stripped-back instrumentation of guitar, bass, piano and violin. Her vibrato and the trails at the ends of her phrases gave me goosebumps. After finishing “Love Song,” Rose admitted that she had a frog in her throat, although I never would have guessed. Through her entire set, she drew the audience into each song and gave the impression that she was singing to each one of us.

Instead of going through the routine of leaving the stage only to return for an encore, Lucy Rose gave the audience a heads-up about how many songs she had left. “I can’t play an encore because my nerves can’t handle it,” she said. Rose announced that she had four songs left in her set, but after playing the last one, she would remain on stage. If the audience cheered loud enough, she would play one last song.

After playing her “last” song, the audience-favorite, “Shiver,” the audience erupted into applause. Once again, Rose gave the audience a choice of which song they wanted to hear. She asked the crowd to cheer to indicate which transportation-related song they would rather hear: “Night Bus” or “Bikes.” But after a tied vote, it was clear that the audience didn’t want to let Lucy Rose go, and so she played both.

Lucy Rose says that her latest album, Something’s Changing, is the best work of her career, because she wrote it in the wake of the Latin American tour that gave her the confidence to believe in her music again. After finishing the tour and meeting so many of her fans, she decided, “I’m going to make another record for them,” and she wasn’t going to worry about what other people thought.

Through her performance, Rose showed just how much she genuinely appreciates support from her audience, and uses her music to connect with others. While she may have written these “sad songs” alone in her bedroom, they now have the power to connect people across the globe.

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