Before heading out to watch an almost sold out Lucy Spraggan show at the O2 in Leeds, I did a quick search for her on YouTube. The video of her audition on the X Factor in 2012, where she performed the much lauded ‘Last Night (Beer Fear)’ now sits at over 25 million views. With this in mind, I was unsure of whether her own live show would have the same impact, without all the slick production and TV magic.
With the venue rammed full of a nice mix of teenagers, with mums and dads in tow, couples and X Factor obsessives, Lucy Spraggan steps onto the stage with no fuss or fan fair, just a tiny girl with a guitar and huge beam on her face. The audience go completely crazy, with deafening whistles and whoops of joy.
Joined on stage by a backing band, Lucy has the whole room wrapped round her finger from the off. She is instantly like-able, a slick performer with a raw, self-deprecating honesty. Her rapport with the audience is pretty impressive, getting everyone to join in and participate. Soon the gig is more like a massive party, with Lucy’s beautifully crafted songs the sound track.
Her style is part Mumford and Sons with touches of Kate Nash and Ed Sheeran, but she has an old soul and lyrically reminiscent of The Beatles and Cat Stevens. She cuts to the very core of what makes us love music and relate to it. You can’t beat a good story, and that is exactly where her talent lies, she is a great story teller. Every song she sings comes with a tale or fable of how she came to be inspired to write it. Her breath taking honesty and knack for lyrically painting a picture makes it hard to not love her performance and get swept up in the way she sees the world.
With tracks like ‘Tea and Toast’ and ‘Mountains’ you get the sense that behind the beams and smiles and banter, Lucy Spraggan is indeed a very special artist with a depth far beyond anything we ever saw of her on the X Factor. As she gleefully thunders into the track that made her a household name ‘Last Night (Beer Fear)’ I caught myself shamelessly singing along. Her music is whimsical, funny and honest but easy on the ear and addictively up-beat. I can see why the audience is so mixed, there is something about Lucy that appeals to everyone there. She’s the kind of person you can imagine having a nice chat and a cuppa with.
As the evening draws to a close, the atmosphere swelling to a climax, all of my preconceptions are well and truly smashed to pieces. With an all or nothing approach to live performance coupled with her timeless and honest gift for song-writing, there is no doubt in my mind that Lucy Spraggan is a stand alone talent. She needs no bells and whistles, no smoke machines, no stylists or packaging. Her journey to this point may have not been credible or cool, but her musical gift is real, her stories are real and the love and raw emotion she invokes in her fans is real.
Gig date: October 23