The intimate space at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool was the perfect environment for a night of acoustic music by two excellent singer songwriters.
The evening began with a short support performance by Christina Malley; a local girl from Liverpool who was accompanied on keys by the incredibly talented artist and producer Tee (SPXKEN). Christina's track 'Fall' was a personal highlight. For those who have yet to hear Christina, one can find a few of her tracks online; you won't be disappointed.
After a short interval, Jennifer John and Lorna Brooks made their way on stage. Jennifer's captivating vocals began the set acapella before Lorna joined on acoustic guitar. Jennifer spoke about how the pair had met over 10 years ago in Edinburgh and had a mutual appreciation for each other's work and had decided to do a gig together two years later. Enjoying the experience so much they agreed to perform again together but it took them a further eight years to actually make it happen.
Both Jennifer and Lorna are artists in their own right. Jennifer, who has worked with a range of musicians including Boy George, Paloma Faith and more recently Damon Albarn, is a well-known and respected member of the Liverpool music scene. She is the founder of Sense of Sound, a vocal coach and an extremely talented songwriter. The way she translates her life experiences into her songs and the diversity of her voice seems effortless. It is hard, as a fan of Joan Armatrading not to make a comparison.
A stand out track was one called 'You By My Side;' a touching tale of being in the countryside with her daughter and appreciating the precious moments parenthood have to offer. Another highlight was a song called 'Laugh or Cry' which Jennifer introduced as one she had written with the group she is lead singer for called Killerfernandez.
Lorna Brooks, is a Scottish singer-songwriter based in Edinburgh. She played guitar and keys and treated the audience to a range of her back catalogue. Stand out songs included 'Tired' and a heartwarming 'One More Time,' which was dedicated to 'absent friends and family.'
Both artists gave the other the space to showcase their own songs and supported each other with beautiful harmonies throughout. They had a warm chemistry onstage together and were able to work through some guitar tuning difficulties with humour. The pair had appeared earlier in the day on Billy Butler's radio show on BBC Radio Merseyside and treated the audience in the Unity to a pleasant evening of easy listening acoustic music.
At the end of the evening, following a raucous applause and some of the audience even giving a standing ovation whilst shouting for more, the pair returned to the stage for one final song. The Cyndi Lauper track 'Time After Time' was the final farewell. Lorna led on the first verse of the song with Jennifer leading on the second. It was a beautiful rendition of a timeless classic and a perfect ending.
Thankfully for the people of Liverpool and the surrounding areas, you won't have to wait another eight years to see these two fantastic artists collaborate, as they return to the unity Theatre tonight (Friday 9th September).
Reviewer; Matt Houghton
Reviewed: 8th September 2016
North West End Rating: ★★★