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23 September 2003

Bleeding UK Tour
Wolverhampton, Little Civic

Supported by Oneyesblue and Xsister

How I See It
Let It Fall
Into My Blood
Body Shaped Bruise
Motel 74

Review by Russ L

From the off, let me announce that words cannot describe just how much of a Carina Round fan I am. That sets the tone nicely for the rest of this review, I feel.

First, however, there were support bands. Xsister played something akin to Alice In Chains style grunge, with the occasional (only occasional) moment of 'Pablo Honey' era Radiohead sprinkled on top. This is becoming something of a battle cry of mine, I know, but none of the songs really stood out. The singer has a very strong voice indeed, but her tendency to not move back even slightly from the mic at any point ensured it went straight through me at points. I was bored by the end, anyway.

Oneyesblue were a slightly more appealing proposition, if not strictly your typical fair. Sounding on first listen like a combination of the more upbeat moments of both The Byrds and REM, they also had a singer whose voice is was indistinguishable from Jason Lyttle of Grandaddy. I'm would have enjoyed them a lot more if I wasn't waiting for Carina, but I'm definitely not writing them off.

And then... Her Wonderfulness herself. Concentrate, Russell, we need objectivity. She opened with 'Monument,' and it was probably the best of the three times I've seen her play it, sounding perhaps a little less rock-ish than previously.

The set consisted of, on the whole, new stuff (and semi-new stuff - 'Paris' isn't as obscure as she seems to think, is it? She plays it at practicaly every gig), with 'Elegy' sounding particularly affecting - haunting and, well, elegaic.

This was actualy the first time I've seen her perform with a second guitar player in tow, and it did indeed make things sound much more full, but I'm not 100% convinced that's a good thing. It definitely isn't of detriment to the songs, but her former, sparser sound was more unique. The upcoming album will no doubt be the test of how much impact this is ultimately going to have.

The only tracks from 'The First Blood Mystery' were 'How I See It' and the by now customary set closer of 'Let It Fall (I remember the days when she used to finish with 'On Leaving'...), which provided a perfect example of what I'm not able to verbalise when people ask "what's so good about her anyway?' An almost literal dehiscion of feeling, illustrating the sheer emotional intensity that Carina is capable of putting into every note she plays and every word she sings.

If you have any soul whatsoever, go and see Carina Round.

Originally online at The Communion website

Photos by David Renfrey