Stella Donnelly


The Soup Kitchen’s minimal décor is mirrored on stage. Only a guitar, an amp and a mirror sit waiting as the crowd enters for tonight’s show. Anna B Savage is on first, going straight into the set. Her sonorous vocals remind me of Jacob Collier, without the electronic harmoniser, each syllable hitting a new note on an expansive range. This distinctive syllabic vocal style forms interesting harmonies, and creates a rhythmic element over the simple guitar strums.

Anna states that this is one of her first performances in over 2 years, having been dealing with anxiety issues. These vulnerabilities are heard through each song, raw and exposed. A cover is played of Ariana Grande’s ‘Into You’, which in Anna’s style, brings an oddly haunting Emma Ruth Rundle-esque vibe to the track. The show is a mix of music and performance art. The use of a pre-recorded message to the crowd while swapping guitars part way through forms as an interlude, asking questions such as “Am I worth it?” She puts herself and her insecurities out there on stage intimately. The performance is open, honest and brilliant.

Stella Donnelly starts with ‘Grey’, my personal favourite due to the wonderful fingerpicking arrangement that fills the Soup Kitchen’s basement. This is my second time seeing Stella this year, the first time being at the much smaller Castle Hotel venue. I was a little worried that the solo artist may not be able to fill the space, but her charm, wit and wondrous performance prove she could entrance a crowd of any size.

Stella has the perfect, singsong vocals to fit over a Disney movie, especially in the higher notes of ‘Mean To Me’, but her lyrical content is often much darker and hard hitting. The powerful ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ is a crowd stunner. The set mainly comprises of unreleased songs, such as ‘You Owe Me’, sounding like a Lilly Allen track, but songs form the EP Thrush Metal are scattered throughout. ‘Mechanical Bull’, dedicated to the bar staff, goes down a treat.

With many tracks having dark themes, the set still feels light and fun. The songs are full of self-depreciation and comedic wit. And Stella’s crowd banter could fill a comedy store set. With so many unreleased songs, rumours are high for a full length L.P being in the works and I am definitely looking forward to it.

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