Dickie Felton

I write about music and football

The great thing about Loud in Libraries gigs is they entice you to see artists not ordinarily on your wish-list.

My music taste was found in early 1990s indie. And stayed there.

So Betsy, with her volcanic vocals, movie star looks and larger than life stage presence, should not be my usual cup of tea.

Similarly, support act Sonia Stein, with her R&B, 80s-pop inspired songs, should not really float my boat.

But the wonderful Loud in Libraries encourages us to try something new.

Something out of the ordinary, in venues more used to tomes not tunes.

Cheap ticket prices, just £8 for tonight, mean people can experience live music from the hottest new names, in unusual venues.

Loud in Libraries also offer a unique alternative for families looking for more than Disney for their Friday night entertainment.

However, in a week of relentless Cumbria rain, the Kendal Library gig is hit by delays.

Both Betsy and Stein are stuck on the M6 while a sell-out crowd eagerly awaits.

But the minor wait adds to the anticipation around this show.

My eight-year-old, already buzzing from a later-than-usual night out, is entering uncharted territory as he weaves his way past the racks of books to check out Sonia Stein.

And she’s amazing.

Her song Symbol is utterly mesmerising as is the rest of her set.

With looks akin to a young Neneh Cherry, Stein has a voice to die for.

Even Betsy is impressed. From the sidelines she takes snapshots of Stein on stage.

She has new single Do You Love Me Baby, which is a simple, soulful, pop song which floats and swirls effortlessly.

Due to the earlier traffic delays, headliner Betsy enters the stage later than planned.

But boy does she enter.

There’s almost a ‘I was there’ feel watching this soon-to-be-star blitz her way through her sensational new album.

Think Florence and the Machine meets Madonna but with more energy and bigger heels.

We only stay for four songs, as eight-year-old starts to flag, and it’s well past this 44-year-old’s bedtime too.

But in four songs it’s clear Betsy is something of an enigma.

Her voice is very different to anything else out there at the moment.

One YouTuber recently labelled her the “Welsh Cher”.

And, after just a handful of songs, I’m inclined to agree.

Find out more about Loud in Libraries.

Next up: This is The Kit, Lancaster Library, 21 January, 2018.

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