Martha Wainwright is the least known member of a legendary family/dynasty in the music business but somehow the shier, most unlikely star and the most interesting from my point of view. On stage, she is mesmerizing, moving, funny, she is an exceptional singer and she drags the audience with her, in her roller-coaster of emotions, all lived very publicly on stage. I had forgotten about her energy, I had forgotten about the high kicks, I had forgotten how she not only performs but IS the music. The facility of her singing voice, the boisterousness of her laughter, the emotional hysteria of her life, her bitching about her lack of success as opposed to her louder than life brother Rufus, but most importantly her music and the music of her mother, so present around her, her looks so much more Kate McGarrigle than Loudon Wainwright. I was laughing with her, I was crying with her, I was dreaming with her. She is self deprecating and wonderfully musical, as Ed Harcourt on stage with her for a little ditty they wrote together (well sort of together, she sent him out of his own house for her to concentrate) explains. Harcourt underlines how natural it appears to be for Martha Wainwright to write songs, while his contribution to Song for You took him weeks. I was so enraptured by it all that I forgot about taking pictures. By the end of the evening Martha and her young band in their boiler suits have achieved their goal: “we are here to mend your hearts”, she promised. And she did.
(Full review to be found on Noctula Press).
2 February 2017 Ed Harcourt and Martha Wainwright, Roundhouse, London