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8 October 2001

Exeter, The Cavern

The Waves
Lightbulb Song
On Leaving

Review by Tim Bailey

“You stay here like a poison in my bloodstream,” spits Carina Round, and Exeter’s introspective tank-top wearing population stand to attention, transfixed. You see, tonight is the Exeter leg of the new acoustic movement’s Roadworks Tour, and the Coldplay adoring crowd (y’know, you can just tell) were expecting tales of how everything was “all yellow”. How wrong they were.

It all hadn’t got off to a good start, with Zanderman’s David Gray-a-like whining - Christ, the crowd was even sitting down - but Carina Round soon wiped away any thoughts of every non-music fans favourite singer-songwriter. Dressed all in black, with a voice to break a thousand hearts and a face to break a thousand more, she begins with the twisted beauty of “The Waves”, then the vicious “Monument”- like PJ Harvey without the Nick Cave baggage, and a packed Cavern crowd is converted. Even the quieter moments scream to be heard; a stripped down “Lightbulb Song” bears an intensity not evident on her debut album “The First Blood Mystery”. Ending with the seven minute opus “On Leaving”, which scales the anotherworldly heights of Tori Amos in full flow, Carina Round shows her frightening capabilities to full effect. Tonight, a star has been born.

It would prove a tough act to follow, but Ben & Jason did not disappoint. Mixing gently touching laments, jovial pop moments and a wry smile, Ben & Jason were greeted with deserved applause. Recent single “Air Guitar” provided a suitable finale - gently mocking and with a soaring pop chorus - which summed up their summery acoustic set. But tonight there could be only one winner. Sorry guys, but Carina Round has stolen your crown.

Originally online at the University of Exeter's Student Newspaper website