Words: Amanda Cunningham
The Speakeasy was the perfect venue for an intimate introduction to Lisbee Stainton, a young singer/songwriter from Hampshire. The Voodoo Rooms is one of those kooky Edinburgh venues, with hidden rooms and maze like corridors; tucked behind east end of Princes St, above the Cafe Royal. A star speckled staircase leads into an intimate cabaret bar, to a candlelit room draped in black. A round of drinks for 3 was around £8 (mix of alcoholic and non) and a reasonable £9 ticket.
Jo Hill played first, supported on cello by Evan Graine and impressed everyone with the power and quality of her vocal talent . A young film student, from Catalunya, with a remarkable voice. For a young artist she had an impressive range of original material and she accompanied herself beautifully on keyboard, base and guitar during her set. ‘Wolf Soul’ stood out and showcased her vocal talents. ‘Save your life for me’ was also powerful and got a great reception. ‘Twighlight’ was a haunting song that was very compelling. Jo was charmingly shy and deprecating between songs, which making her easy to warm to. Jo is planning more gigs during the Festival so I will keep an eye out and catch her again.
Lisbee Stainton is in Scotland promoting her new album ‘Word Games’. Lisbee was charming and confident, with an incredible vocal performance, she accompanied herself on guitar. The set included material from the new album and song from her back catalogue, including ‘Girl on an unmade bed’ about her uncertainties and excitements of leaving college. The venue suited the personal nature of the song writing, with the beautifully crafted ‘ The author’ about falling in love and the lovely ‘Red’ a song that she related to time spent sitting looking at her mothers beautiful garden. Lisbee had fantastic presence, with rare natural ability to engage with the audience. Highlights were cajoling audience into providing a vocal accompaniment on ‘Red Dog Running’ that really got everyone involved. She impressed with ‘Go’ when she coordinated a very impressive 3 part harmony with the audience. She ended with the title track of her new album, which I am looking forward to hearing more of, after such delightful introduction to her music.
Edinburgh crowds can take a long time to warm up, a friend once remarked. Both Jo Hill and Lisbee Stainton were well applauded for breaking the ice quickly. The Speakeasy chose artists perfectly suited to the venue. A really chilled Wednesday evening, with high quality entertainment and change from £20 and still in bed before midnight on a school night.