Lydia Ainsworth

Lydia Ainsworth


Lydia Ainsworth looks elegant tonight, bedecked in a sweeping knee-length white coat with a brooch hanging from her neck. Manchester’s turn out is paltry in comparison, as the small numbers make Gullivers’ normally throbbing wooden floor seem empty, helping it to feel more like a heartless conference hall rather than one of the best homes of music the city has to offer.

In addition to her distinguished appearance, Lydia has also brought along with her a fully-kitted out band comprising of a cello player and drummer, causing the city to further hang its head in shame for its no show. And as Lydia’s fragmented vocals emerge above the fragile tinkles of opener ‘White Shadows’, it soon appears that a fully developed live show lies ahead of us, as all three elements; Lydia’s keys, the cello and the drums; collaborate together to form an ethereal soundscape.

As the song ends though, the sonic room-filling sound gives way to the claps from the audience, who are so scattered that the space in the room can be heard through every break in the applause. However, these thoughts are not allowed to linger as ‘The Truth’ makes its entrance and it is here where one of the strongest vocals of ‘Right from Real’ occurs. This is when Lydia’s true voice emerges above the warps and variations to sing loudly ‘I wanna hear a song’ and tonight, it is enchanting to see that huge voice rise up from that elegant, previously soft-spoken lady.

‘Moonstone’, which could have easily featured on The Drive soundtrack, comes next and again this reveals a side of Lydia’s personality far fiercer than her snowy white coat, when Lydia raps aggressively to the screeches of the cello producing a haunting sound. ‘Take Your Face Off’ has a beautiful breakdown at its centre, before Lydia’s voice warps and deepens helping her to sound akin to Galadriel, otherwise known as the Witch Queen, from Lord of the Rings – a comparison I did not expect to be making tonight.

The cello then takes centre stage in a song with a far more wondrous soundscape than what has gone before. The song is laced with beauty but the highlight for me is the bands ‘carry on as if nothing happened’ attitude which shines through when the drummer’s sticks break half way through, only for him to tap rhythmically with his hands along to the song. The classy response means this incident was missed by most and when the applause rings out it feels like the space in between the once-scattered audience is slowly disappearing as the volume of the cheers grow louder.

Lydia is pitch-perfect again on ‘Hologram’, even if the brooding violin on this track slightly out shadows her, as it is played with extreme craftsmanship.  A short but extremely sweet set is then closed with ‘Malachite’, a breathy hymnal number which is strung together by a shimmering cello. As Lydia daintily steps off the stage, as if she had no place on there, the thing that becomes most obvious is that despite Manchester’s poorest efforts, this seemingly non assuming woman has now managed to fill a space, which once appeared unbreachable, with a sound and class that will be etched on many of our minds for some time to come.

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Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.