Kelly Lee Owens braved the inclement weather and a hint of bourgeoisie as Getintothis’ Simon Kirk was on hand to witness her shed a new skin.
It’s been pissing rain since midday, it’s fucking cold, and that’s not to mention the wind from the River Mersey licking up against our face as we make our way to the Invisible Wind Factory. Good start, isn’t it?
Horrendous weather aside, tonight is all about the collaboration. Liverpool-based Immix Ensemble, Andrew PM Hunt (formerly of Outfit fame), Daniel Thorne, and visual artist, Thomas Gill, will provide the backdrop to London-based revered electro-pop sensation, Kelly Lee Owens.
Winner of Piccadilly Records’ Album of the Year in 2017 with her self-titled debut album, we must admit that the release passed us by. The first time of listening to Kelly Lee Owens and it sounded instantly recognisable.
Those sweet vocal channels were identical to the feminine embellishments that made Daniel Avery’s Drone Logic such a defining listen. Couldn’t be, could it? Upon a bit of quick research and this proved to be the case – Owens was indeed Avery’s partner in crime. Furthermore, Owens was a part of shoegaze collective, The History Of Apple Pie.
Aesthetically, Kelly Lee Owens is very much in a similar vein to Avery’s vivacious, shimmering electronica. However, here there’s more of a fragile innocence that runs throughout the ten tracks. Ultimately, it’s how real pop music should be made.
In saying that, tonight we will see these songs in a totally different guise, morphed into an orchestral cannon; a new born phenomena, it seems.
Daniel Thorne starts things off with a new five minute piece of saxophone minimalism. Andrew PM Hunt follows with more minimalism, but in a more electronic/spoken-word vein.
After a twenty minute interval, it’s time for Kelly Lee Owens to take the stage. With natural wonder-inspired visuals provided by Thomas Gill, Owens starts with 8 and from the outset it’s quite clear that any sub-bass has been shelved for the night. The pulsating drones from the album have been substituted for strings and brass.
Following is album opener, S.O and again its druggy slow-motion drone paves the way for a tranquil orchestral milieu. It’s nice.
Lucid is arguably the track that hits the most. Owens herself professes to the audience that it brought tears to her eyes whilst rehearsing, admitting that she had been waiting a long time to play the song in this form. It works.
Magikal stuff from @kellyleeowens tonight at @iwfactory – Lucid was something else – hats off to Daniel Thorne and the entire @Immix_Ens team for their series which continues to inspire and invigorate the live circuit in Liverpool. Great to see a sell out Wind Factory too. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/JMLRKShiIj
— Peter Guy (@Getintothis) September 20, 2018
Throwing Lines finishes the short set. Personally, we’ll rate it as one of the finest pop songs written in the last ten years. It has a banger element to it, but stripped back in this environment, you can feel its bare, skeleton quality, with flourishes of trumpet giving the song a contrasting quality.
It’s a night that is surprising. It’s short and sweet, but to be honest, that’s all it needs to be. One would imagine an event like this being arranged somewhere in London for the bourgeoisie to wax lyrical, not to mentioned someone like The Guardian hailing this event as the second coming. The fact that this performance is staged amongst the urban decay of north Liverpool is, quite frankly, where the victory lies. It’s a privilege to be a part of it.