Lisa Mitchell, The Boy Who Trapped The Sun and Benjamin Francis Leftwich at ARU, Cambridge
A cold winter spring night in Cambridge. An Australian singer songwriter is performing. Who is in the crowd? Obviously, it’s me. “Who is tonight’s obscurity from down under?” I hear you all ask yourselves rhetorically. Well, I shall ignore your use of rhetoric and tell you that this performer is a young girl (I think she’s nineteen, maybe twenty) and her name is Lisa Mitchell.
Her claim to fame over here is that Neopolitan Dreams was played in the Surf Advert. I say it’s ‘her’ claim to fame, she didn’t actually mention it as she played at the Anglia Ruskin Student Union. In fact, she failed to say much at all in between her songs. Perhaps she was feeling a little quiet last night as she politely thanked the audience after every song before strumming away at the next one. This didn’t really allow for massive audience interaction but the three drunken Australians doing strange jigs throughout the set suggested that she didn’t disappoint despite her lack of banter.
The set started late, with Lisa not arriving on stage until 10.34. Fortunately I did not need to catch the particularly early last train home from Cambridge at 10.41 as I would have missed the entirety of her set. My thanks have to go to Frankie’s dad for coming and driving us home. Had he not then it would have been a bit of a waste of a gig if I’m honest.
Nearly all of the songs from Wonder were played. Though sadly my favourite song from an EP, Alice In Wonderland was not. Lisa doesn’t have the most powerful voice, but she manipulates it to work alongside the instruments to create a unique sound. Whilst I’ve mentioned that her audience interaction could be improved, her random hops and awkward dancing entertained us in the likes of Neopolitan Dreams and Coin Laundry.
Supporting Lisa, were both Benjamin Francis Leftwich and The Boy Who Trapped The Sun. Whilst I’d previously seen the latter as a support act for Pete Murray in August last year, the first act was unknown to me. However I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by his vocals and acoustic guitar playing. His set could have done with one or two upbeat songs in there but that wasn’t his sound and I’m not going to judge him for it. The second artist, accompanied by a cellist, was still as good as when I first saw him. His track Dreaming Like A Fool had struck a chord with me last time and, despite it never being released and me not having listened to it since I saw it, I still managed to remember all the words to the chorus. “You could never be an actress/I know the knife’s under the mattress/If this is love I’d rather keep dreaming/Dreaming like a fool” There’s just something about those lines that makes them so powerful. Admittedly sleeping with a knife underneath you is pretty full on, but he’s crafted the metaphors into the song so that it’s complexity becomes enchanting. He’s got a new EP out now, and he assured me that Dreaming Like A Fool will be released in the summer.
Overall, it was a great gig. And well worth the six pound ticket. The venue was alright as well. It wasn’t even half full though which wasn’t great for an artist who deserves a lot more recognition.