Words by Holly Pyke / Pics by Cesilia Oriana Trecaquista
She appeared uncomfortable and nervous, which immediately put my back up as I always assume this to be audience manipulation. My plummeting expectations for the night were extremely short lived however, as by half way through the opening song I had (grudgingly) decided that I actually quite liked her.
In fact, I think I was initially rather unreasonable as, although having performed various festival circuits, Sermanni is still a very new act at the tender age of 20.
Only playing to a small audience (being in The Glee Club’ Studio) there was no support act; and to her credit, Sermanni enthralled us from the moment she started. All signs of nerves disappeared well before ‘Breathe Easy’, and the audience were left transfixed throughout the entirety of the set.
The evening started bang on time; the sound, lighting and general atmosphere were without fault and complimentary. Sermanni’s performance was excellent, and (as it transpires) she is an extremely engaging performer; interspersing her haunting, darkly melodic songs with witty and entertaining dialogue.
The set comprised of songs from her debut album ‘Under Mountains’ (check out ‘Under Mountains’ Birmingham Review) such as ‘Bones’, ‘Sleep’ and ‘Eggshells,’ all of which were delivered beautifully and with impeccable skill. The expectant audience culminating in an animated encore demand, which included ‘Song to a Fox’ and enthusiastic applause.
The change in mood and tempo between ‘Breathe Easy’, ‘Sea Oh See’ and ‘The Fog’ rendered the set with depth, colour and a sense of being pulled along a swirling fairytale journey. However at another point during the evening it became difficult to tell whether she was repeating an earlier song, as the sound was so similar.
Recorded versions of her album tracks maintain greater individuality, but due to the stripped back live performance – where there was nothing on stage but Sermanni and her guitar, it would be unreasonable to expect total distinction.
And with a voice and charm as hypnotic as hers, I really don’t think it matters.
For more info on Rachel Sermanni, including her debut album ‘Under Mountains’, visit http://www.rachelsermanni.net/
For details on other gigs at The Glee Club, visit http://www.glee.co.uk/birmingham-music